Document Detail

An investigation of dentists' and dental students' estimates of diagnostic probabilities.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20516095     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: Research in medicine has shown that physicians have difficulty estimating the probability that a patient has a condition on the basis of available diagnostic evidence. They consistently undervalue baseline information about the patient relative to test information and are poor intuitive calculators of probability. The authors could not locate in the literature any studies of diagnostic probability estimates from baseline information and test data for dentists. METHODS: Using two vignettes that contained different baseline information, dental students and clinical faculty members estimated the probability that the described hypothetical patient had the condition in question. Respondents also commented on the project. CONCLUSIONS: Both groups of respondents overemphasized the importance of test evidence relative to baseline information, although experienced practitioners did so to a lesser extent than did students. Respondents, especially practitioners, expressed resistance to performing a diagnostic task that required precise estimates of probability. CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Dentists appear to estimate diagnostic probabilities in an intuitive fashion, but they do so imprecisely. Clinical experience provides some protection against the bias of overestimating test evidence compared with baseline information. These findings raise questions about how practitioners use probability estimates and whether other models also may play a role. The incorporation of information from evidence-based dentistry into practice requires better understanding.
David W Chambers; Ryan Mirchel; William Lundergan
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of the American Dental Association (1939)     Volume:  141     ISSN:  1943-4723     ISO Abbreviation:  J Am Dent Assoc     Publication Date:  2010 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-06-02     Completed Date:  2010-09-28     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7503060     Medline TA:  J Am Dent Assoc     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  656-66     Citation Subset:  D; IM    
Department of Dental Practice, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, University of the Pacific, San Francisco, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Bayes Theorem
Decision Making
Diagnosis, Oral / statistics & numerical data*
Faculty, Dental
False Positive Reactions
Likelihood Functions
Periodontal Diseases / diagnosis
Predictive Value of Tests
Sensitivity and Specificity
Students, Dental*

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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