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The process of diagnosis requires two essential steps. The first is the establishment of diagnostic hypotheses followed by attempts to reduce their number by progressively ruling out specific diseases. This process requires very sensitive tests. Such tests, when normal, permit the physician to confidently exclude the disease. The next step is the pursuit of a strong clinical suspicion. This process requires a very specific test. Such a test, when abnormal, should essentially confirm the presence of the disease.
The intelligent selection of a laboratory test thus depends upon a choice that is appropriate for the
I. Principles of Test Selection and Use: A. Purposes of Tests and Procedures. Ann Intern Med. ;94:559–563. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-94-4-559
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1981;94(4_Part_2):559-563.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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