People normally go for screening tests for specific reasons. There are different health related conditions at the family level that members may test. Screening tests enable families comprehend health related conditions in their lineages. Furthermore, screening generates accurate information, which informs patients decision-making processed. The results emerging from screening processes are crucial to clients.
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The interpretation of screening results is also crucial to providing clients with accurate information regarding their health conditions. Evidently, challenges associated with interpreting screening results are imminent. This increases the requirement that people interpret screening results with caution. In the subsequent sections, this paper discusses the reasons for excising caution while interpreting test results
Possibilities for a false-positive result and a false-negative result
Every family anticipates that screening should generate accurate information. However, screening outcome may hinder health related decision making in certain situations. Screening results may defectively discriminate between clients with disease and those without. This can happen when the outcome is incoherent with the actual clinical condition of client.
The challenge may also emerge because of improper integration of screening outcome within the clinical contexts (Marotz & Allen, 2013). Therefore, an imperfect screening test may erroneously categorize a healthy client as diseased.
This creates the false – positive result situation. On the contrary, it may also erroneously identify a sick client as disease – free (Marotz & Allen, 2013). This creates the false – negative result situation. There is the need for people in charge of screening processes to practice caution while interpreting results.
The recognition that inherent operating characteristics of screening processes may generate inaccurate outcome requires caution (Marotz & Allen, 2013). The ability of screening processes to ensure accuracy in excluding or including disease on a client may be prone to errors. This is a genuine reason demanding caution while reading screening results.
The Role of Screening Tools
Several tools are applicable in screening processes. Generally, people in charge of screening processes regard the tools as perfect. However, some screening tools may have defects and problems leading to failures. The screening tools that have defects may not generate accurate outcome. For example, instruments employed in cognitive measurements may fail to generate accurate outcome (Spencer, Bornholt & Ouvrier, 2003).
Furthermore, people in charge of the screening processes may openly abuse such tools thus affecting their accuracy. In addition, using screening tools designed for larger populations to test individuals may prompt cautious in the interpretation of outcome (Spencer, Bornholt & Ouvrier, 2003).
These concerns make it worth for people tasked with conducting screening processes to exercise precaution. They need to exercise precaution on the interpretation of screening outcome.
The prevalence of disease
It is notable that sometimes specialists are interested in conducting screening tests for specific diseases among people in a population. The specialists recognize that the popularity of a disease within a particular population significantly affects screening test effectiveness (Marotz & Allen, 2013). It is notable that very good screening tests may have reduced extrapolative value positives in areas of low disease incidence.
This normally presents additional challenges because people in charge of screening should have familiarity of the estimated disease incidence while interpreting screening outcome (Ore, Tamir, Stein & Cohen-Dar, 2009). This is also a concern requiring people to exercise caution while interpreting screening outcome.
The above discussions relates to the reasons why people should exercise caution while interpreting screening outcome. The possibility of screening results generating a false – positive and false – negative outcome necessitates caution. Furthermore, the inaccuracy of screening tools as well as disease incidence may affect screening outcome.
Marotz, L. R., & Allen, K. E. (2013). Developmental Profiles: Pre-Birth through adolescence (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
Ore, L., Tamir, A., Stein, N., & Cohen-Dar, M. (2009). Reliability of vision screening tests for school children. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 41(3), 250-259. Doi: 10.1111/j.1547-5069.2009.01283.x
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Spencer, F. H., Bornholt, L. J., & Ouvrier, R. A. (2003). Test reliability and stability of children’s cognitive functioning. Journal of Child Neurology, 18(1), 5-11.