Individualizing the results

When satisfied that biologic and socioeconomic differences do not compromise the applicability of a test in your setting, the next step is to determine the impact that the test (and its results) might have on your specific patient's probability of having a disease. While studies of diagnosis report the average effect of a test on probability of disease, the effect may vary greatly from patient to patient. The main source of this variation is the individual's baseline probability of disease,...

Appraising directness

Before even reading an article, the first thing we must do is evaluate directness, i.e. how well the PEO in the study (the research question), corresponds with our own PEO (the clinical question). The problem of directness is very common. Directness issues arise because investigators are constrained by their budgets to answer very narrow, focused questions. In contrast, healthcare professionals in the real world are interested in a very broad range of issues. These differences are summarized in...