To test or not to test: A clinical dilemma

This paper argues that clinicians are sometimes justified in not testing diagnoses or in not subjecting them to a full battery of tests. In deciding whether to conduct a test, a clinician may consider and weigh several different factors, including her confidence in her initial diagnosis, the specificity and sensitivity of the test, the consequences of making a false diagnosis, the pain, harm, and inconvenience caused by the test, and the costs of the test to the patient and society. This view suggests that diagnoses are fundamentally different from scientific hypotheses in that they are not always subjected to the same evidential standards
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