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The economics of diagnosis

The economics of diagnosis
The economics of diagnosis
Any population can be divided into two groups, one with the presence of a given disease or condition, and the other without. Diagnosis consists of using tests to sort the population into these groups. Diagnostic tests use a threshold value of a diagnostic variable to distinguish between disease-positive and disease-negative individuals. The analysis of error in diagnostic tests has typically been undertaken using receiver-operator characteristic (ROC) curves. More recently, economic value of information (VOI) methods have characterised the costs and consequences of testing. This paper develops a new method for economic test evaluation, which we call ROTS analysis. The ROTS curve plots the costs and effects of changing test thresholds, in cost-effectiveness space. We illustrate the use of our method with a worked example, and show how it can answer three key questions: (1) Is there any test that is worth doing? (2) What is a test's optimum operating point in terms of sensitivity and specificity? (3) If two tests are available, which is best? We contrast the merits of our method with those of established ROC and VOI analysis. We argue that ROTS analysis more clearly reveals the link between changing test thresholds and the cost-effectiveness of different treatments.
diagnosis, cost-effectiveness analysis, receiver-operator curve, diagnostic tests
1099-1050
1109-1120
Laking, G.
57ab162a-d1f8-4da1-b0ed-e0bb822c65c0
Lord, J.
fd3b2bf0-9403-466a-8184-9303bdc80a9a
Fischer, A.
798c82d9-aa26-4b05-8604-b80f4db8d75e
Laking, G.
57ab162a-d1f8-4da1-b0ed-e0bb822c65c0
Lord, J.
fd3b2bf0-9403-466a-8184-9303bdc80a9a
Fischer, A.
798c82d9-aa26-4b05-8604-b80f4db8d75e

Laking, G., Lord, J. and Fischer, A. (2006) The economics of diagnosis. Health Economics, 15 (10), 1109-1120. (doi:10.1002/hec.1114). (PMID:16652389)

Record type: Article

Abstract

Any population can be divided into two groups, one with the presence of a given disease or condition, and the other without. Diagnosis consists of using tests to sort the population into these groups. Diagnostic tests use a threshold value of a diagnostic variable to distinguish between disease-positive and disease-negative individuals. The analysis of error in diagnostic tests has typically been undertaken using receiver-operator characteristic (ROC) curves. More recently, economic value of information (VOI) methods have characterised the costs and consequences of testing. This paper develops a new method for economic test evaluation, which we call ROTS analysis. The ROTS curve plots the costs and effects of changing test thresholds, in cost-effectiveness space. We illustrate the use of our method with a worked example, and show how it can answer three key questions: (1) Is there any test that is worth doing? (2) What is a test's optimum operating point in terms of sensitivity and specificity? (3) If two tests are available, which is best? We contrast the merits of our method with those of established ROC and VOI analysis. We argue that ROTS analysis more clearly reveals the link between changing test thresholds and the cost-effectiveness of different treatments.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 25 January 2006
e-pub ahead of print date: 20 May 2006
Published date: September 2006
Keywords: diagnosis, cost-effectiveness analysis, receiver-operator curve, diagnostic tests
Organisations: Primary Care & Population Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 382177
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/382177
ISSN: 1099-1050
PURE UUID: acd53f61-d609-4b61-bb91-8c3b668422c5
ORCID for J. Lord: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1086-1624

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 27 Oct 2015 11:02
Last modified: 17 Dec 2019 01:33

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