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Why the Sensitivity and Specificity of a Lab Test Matters

  • August 2, 2016 10:23 AM EDT

    The measure of a laboratory test's accuracy is reported as its sensitivity and specificity. In clinical practice, tests with high sensitivity and specificity are most desired.

    • The sensitivity of a test indicates the percentage of time that the positive test result correlates with actual disease (its "true positive" rate). Tests that have a low sensitivity may yield false negative test results.

    • The specificity of a test indicates its "true negative" rate. A test that has low specificity may yield false positive test results. 

    In this week's Evidence Based Update we present some important news you can use regarding the findings of independent evaluations of the sensitivity and specificity of commercially available infectious disease point-of-care test kits including:

    FeLV / FIV: 
    SNAP Combo® and SNAP® Feline Triple FeLV Test; WITNESS®; Anigen®; VetScan®; Speed Duo® FeLV Test

    3 Point-of-Care tests for Giardia:
    SNAP® Giardia test; VetScan® Giardia test; Anigen® Giardia test

    Here are a few important points to remember about why a clinical test's sensitivity and specificity matters in the context of caring for our patients:


    View This Evidence Based Update (running time 10 mins)