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Article
December 9, 1988

The Dot PlotA Starting Point for Evaluating Test Performance

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pathology, the Division of Clinical Pathology, The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center of The Pennsylvania State University, Hershey (Drs Krieg and Bongiovanni); and the Department of Pathology, Program in Medical Information Science, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH (Dr Beck).

From the Department of Pathology, the Division of Clinical Pathology, The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center of The Pennsylvania State University, Hershey (Drs Krieg and Bongiovanni); and the Department of Pathology, Program in Medical Information Science, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH (Dr Beck).

JAMA. 1988;260(22):3309-3312. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410220093035
Abstract

We suggest that evaluations of diagnostic tests start with dot plots that depict multiple test results over multiple clinical states. From this starting point we can calculate posttest probabilities for multiple clinical states at multiple test results. Also, we can project one subset of clinical states as "disease positive" and a second subset as "disease negative" to provide standard analyses such as likelihood ratios, relative operating characteristic curves, posttest/pretest probability plots, sensitivity, specificity, and predictive value. Finally, this starting point provides an excellent basis for comparing multiple studies of diagnostic performance. The advantages of dot plots are illustrated with data on serum ferritin levels over multiple clinical states.

(JAMA 1988;260:3309-3312)

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