Decision Curve Analysis for Assessing the Usefulness of Tests for Making Decisions to Treat: An Application to Tests for Prodromal Psychosis

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For a test to be considered useful for making treatment decisions, it is necessary that making treatment decisions based on the results of the test be a preferable strategy to making treatment decisions without the test. Decision curve analysis is a framework for assessing when a test would be expected to be useful, which integrates evidence of a test's performance characteristics (sensitivity and specificity), condition prevalence among at-risk patients, and patient preferences for treatment. We describe decision curve analysis generally and illustrate its potential through an application to tests for prodromal psychosis. Clinical psychosis is often preceded by a prodromal phase, but not all those with prodromal symptoms proceed to develop full psychosis. Patients identified as at risk for developing psychosis may be considered for proactive treatment to mitigate development of clinically defined psychosis. Tests exist to help identify those at-risk patients most likely to develop psychosis, but it is uncertain when these tests would be considered useful for making proactive treatment decisions. We apply decision curve analysis to results from a systematic review of studies investigating clinical tests for predicting the development of psychosis in at-risk populations, and present resulting decision curves that illustrate when the tests may be expected to be useful for making proactive treatment decisions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)730-737
Number of pages8
JournalPsychological Assessment
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013

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