Test Evaluation

Clinical tests are used to guide diagnosis, estimate the risk of certain disease-related events, and select treatment. They can be based on any measurable biological characteristic or set of characteristics. When new tests are introduced, the potential benefit of testing must be weighed against its risks and the consequences of possible misdiagnosis.

Our research has the potential to help clinicians to provide more tailored treatments for individual patients (for example, through the use of risk models to help guide treatment decisions), and to aid in the selection of patients for clinical trials. Test evaluation includes:

  • Studies to explore the potential clinical value of test information
  • Studies measuring the accuracy of tests
  • Randomised controlled trials of tests
  • Analyses of trial data to determine the clinical significance and optimal use of tests for decisions about patient management
  • Validation of test performance in independent populations
  • Systematic reviews of test accuracy and integration with other evidence to estimate benefits and harms
  • Decision models and economic analyses

We are also involved in research to improve methods for test evaluation. For example: when is it necessary to conduct a clinical trial to evaluate the impact of a new diagnostic test on patient outcomes, and when would a simpler study of test accuracy be sufficient?

For more information about test evaluation please contact SRHTA@ctc.usyd.edu.au

Promoting evidence-based medical testing

A major strand of our research at the CTC involves the evaluation of new tests and technology to obtain evidence of their value in clinical decision making.