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May 14, 1982

Evaluating the Yield of Medical Tests

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Community and Family Medicine, Division of Biometry (Drs Harrell, Lee, and Rosati), and the Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology (Drs Califf and Pryor), Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC.

JAMA. 1982;247(18):2543-2546. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320430047030

A method is presented for evaluating the amount of information a medical test provides about individual patients. Emphasis is placed on the role of a test in the evaluation of patients with a chronic disease. In this context, the yield of a test is best interpreted by analyzing the prognostic information it furnishes. Information from the history, physical examination, and routine procedures should be used in assessing the yield of a new test. As an example, the method is applied to the use of the treadmill exercise test in evaluating the prognosis of patients with suspected coronary artery disease. The treadmill test is shown to provide surprisingly little prognostic information beyond that obtained from basic clinical measurements.

(JAMA 1982;247:2543-2546)