Discussion Board

Diagnosis and prior probability

  • 1.  Diagnosis and prior probability

    Posted 10-04-2021 11:19
      |   view attached
    This attached essay summarizes my views about the unsuitability of the prescribed Bayesian method for diagnosis in practice. The key reason for this unsuitability, in my view, is the interpretation of a prior probability as prior degree of belief in this method which would lead to diagnostic errors if it were to be employed. I cannot find any published study or case report about the employment of the Bayesian method for diagnosis in real patients in practice. If anyone knows of such a study, please let me know.
    In the method employed for diagnosis in practice, a disease suspected from a presentation is formulated as a hypothesis without any prior probability attached to it so that it does not have any prior degree of belief for or against it. This hypothesis is inferred to be correct (or not) and a disease diagnosed from a highly informative test result with likelihood ratio greater than 10.
    Please comment.


    Bimal Jain MD
    Mass General Brigham/Salem Hospital
    Salem MA 01970

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