We’ve covered test characteristics like sensitivity and specificity before, and we’ve even covered how you can use those values to make decisions about what results mean about your health. But sensitivity and specificity don’t have a meaning that people usually understand.
What people want to know are other values, what we might call the positive predictive and negative predictive values. But there are problems with those metrics. They’re the topic of this week’s Healthcare Triage.
For those of you who want to read more, let me suggest David Sackett’s Handbook on Evidence Based Medicine.