From Ganfyd

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Info bulb.pngIn general practice the question commonly comes up at least by implication - "so the blood test is normal and that means there is nothing wrong with me, doc?" Even narrowing the scope of the diagnosis to exclude down from everything to "the differential diagnosis we were considering when we made the test" rather often leaves "yes" as a drastically simplified answer, which leads us into medical ethics and the nature of national populations.

A measure of the ability of a particular test (examination; presence of an item in the history; laboratory investigation etc) to demonstrate, by a negative result, that a particular diagnosis is impossible or highly improbable.

IE How effectively a negative result rules out the diagnosis in question.

A test need not be specific, if it is very sensitive in order to rule out a diagnosis - although many false positives might occur, when it is negative it is very valuable in reducing our uncertainty about the presence of that state, condition or disease.

Complementary to SpPin

See also

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