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Type: Journal article
Title: The influence of medical testing on patients' health: an overview from the gynecologists' perspective
Author: Vis, J.
van Zwieten, M.
Bossuyt, P.
Moons, K.
Dijkgraaf, M.
McCaffery, K.
Mol, B.
Opmeer, B.
Citation: BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, 2013; 13(1):117-1-117-7
Publisher: BioMed Central
Issue Date: 2013
ISSN: 1472-6947
Statement of
Jolande Y Vis, Myra CB van Zwieten, Patrick MM Bossuyt, Karel GM Moons, Marcel GW Dijkgraaf, Kirsten J McCaffery, Ben Willem J Mol and Brent C Opmeer
Abstract: Background: A medical tests may influence the health of patients by guiding clinical decisions, such as treatment in case of a positive test result. However, a medical test can influence the health of patients through other mechanisms as well, like giving reassurance. To make a clinical recommendation about a medical test, we should be aware of the full range of effects of that test on patients. This requires an understanding of the range of effects that medical testing can have on patients. This study evaluates the mechanisms through which medical testing can influence patients’ health, other than the effect on clinical management, from a gynecologist’s perspective. Methods: A qualitative study in which explorative focus groups were conducted with gynecologists, gynecological residents and gynecological M.D. researchers (n = 43). Discussions were transcribed verbatim. Transcriptions were coded inductively and analyzed by three researchers. Results: All participants contributed various clinical examples in which medical testing had influenced patients’ health. Clinical examples illustrated that testing, in itself or in interaction with contextual factors, may provoke a wide range of effects on patients. Our data showed that testing can influence the doctor’s perceptions of the patients’ appraisal of their illness, their perceived control, or the doctor-patient relationship. This may lead to changes in psychological, behavioral, and/or medical outcomes, both favorably or unfavorably. The data were used to construct a conceptual framework of effects of medical testing on patients. Conclusions: Besides supporting clinical decision making, medical testing may have favorable or unfavorable effects on patients’ health though several mechanisms.
Keywords: Test evaluation; Patient outcomes; Diagnostic test; Methodology; Qualitative research
Rights: © 2013 Vis et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
RMID: 0020136961
DOI: 10.1186/1472-6947-13-117
Appears in Collections:Obstetrics and Gynaecology publications

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