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Sensitivity and specificity are terms used to estimate the accuracy
of test results.
Sensitivity refers to the probability of
testing positive for a disease if the disease is truly present. As the
sensitivity of a test increases, the number of people who have the disease but
test negative (false negatives) will decrease.
Specificity refers to the probability of
testing negative if the disease is truly absent. As the specificity of a test
increases, the number of people who do not have the disease but test positive
(false positives) will decrease.
Current as of:
February 19, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
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