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December 25, 1972

Precision vs Convenience

Author Affiliations

University of Minnesota Minneapolis

JAMA. 1972;222(13):1650-1651. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03210130042018

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To the Editor.—  Your EDITORIAL, "Precision Over Convenience." (222:85, 1972) was instructive and useful. It represents, however, a traditional and perhaps limited viewpoint when it insists on precision where precision is often not possible or even necessary. How important is it to know most intravascular measurements with quantitative precision? Precision in measurements having wide variations for biological reasons may be comparable to the medieval speculations about the number of angels on the head of a pin. Rather, how much more important it is to have, for most purposes, a reliable, repeatable, standard, safe, painless, inexpensive, and convenient method that is a good index of what we wish to know.The eventual validation of noninvasive measurements depends not only on how precisely they reflect the results of invasive measurements, but how well they answer the scientific or clinical questions asked. Often those questions involve simple comparisons, changes over time, predictive power