[Too little evaluation of diagnostic imaging tests]

Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2011;155:A2996.
[Article in Dutch]


The use of diagnostic imaging is increasing rapidly. Imaging tests can lead to fast and accurate diagnosis but as they can be harmful these tests need to be carefully evaluated. This evaluation generally involves three steps: evaluation of analytic validity or reliability (e.g. reproducibility), evaluation of clinical validity (e.g. positive and negative predictive value) and evaluation of clinical benefit (e.g. improvement in life-expectancy and quality of life). Two commonly observed problems with current research are the overall poor quality of many diagnostic studies and the relative absence of studies evaluating the added value and clinical benefit of imaging tests. Research into the clinical utility of imaging is not simple; it requires multi-disciplinary co-operation and the methodology is less well developed than in research into the effects of therapy. Pressure is increasing, both from society and from government, to improve the evaluation of imaging tests.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods*
  • Diagnostic Imaging / standards*
  • Diagnostic Imaging / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Life Expectancy
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Quality of Life
  • Reproducibility of Results