Evaluating the yield of medical tests

JAMA. 1982 May 14;247(18):2543-6.


A method is presented for evaluating the amount of information a medical test provides about individual patients. Emphasis is placed on the role of a test in the evaluation of patients with a chronic disease. In this context, the yield of a test is best interpreted by analyzing the prognostic information it furnishes. Information from the history, physical examination, and routine procedures should be used in assessing the yield of a new test. As an example, the method is applied to the use of the treadmill exercise test in evaluating the prognosis of patients with suspected coronary artery disease. The treadmill test is shown to provide surprisingly little prognostic information beyond that obtained from basic clinical measurements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Catheterization
  • Diagnostic Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Exercise Test
  • Heart Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Heart Diseases / therapy
  • Hospital Bed Capacity, 500 and over
  • Humans
  • Medical History Taking
  • North Carolina
  • Physical Examination