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Analyzing proficiency criteria of health technology systems: the case of drug testing

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2 Author(s)
Barnum, D.T. ; Dept. of Managerial Studies, Illinois Univ., Chicago, IL, USA ; Gleason, J.M.

The management of certain types of health care technology requires that the integrity of the technological system (which includes the technology and the capability of the users of the technology) be routinely assessed to ensure that the system is providing accurate information. Proficiency testing of these health care technology systems is important, not only to ensure the integrity of screening and diagnostic processes, but also for ethical and liability reasons. In this paper, it is shown that all of the criteria used to evaluate the accuracy of drug testing are erroneous. Three general types of criterion errors are present: ignoring the sources of false results; using an improper unit of analysis; and improper treatment of incommensurable factors. As a result, these proficiency studies of drug testing technology systems are of dubious value for formation of health policy about drug testing, or for informing clinical decision makers about the probabilities that drug tests will correctly classify specimens

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Engineering Management, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:46 ,  Issue: 3 )