Finding Validation

Not all terms representing findings or diseases in a patient report are actual findings in the patient; some findings must have a particular value in order to be considered positive. The variable of oxygen desaturation may be useful in our SARS

detector, but a physician may not describe oxygen desaturation with those words. Instead he may say "the patient's O2 saturation is low'' or "the patient is satting at 85% on room air.'' The qualitative value of "low'' in the first example and the quantitative value of "85 %'' are what let the reader know the patient has oxygen desaturation. Similarly, the presence of the word "temperature'' does not inform the reader of whether the patient has a fever-the variable together with its value provide the requisite information to the reader.

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