What is a receiver operating characteristic plot (ROC curve) as applied to a diagnostic test? What are its advantages?
An ROC plot is a graphical representation of sensitivity vs. 1- specificity for all the observed data values for a given diagnostic test.
• Simple and graphical
• Represents accuracy over the entire range of the test
• It is independent of prevalence
• Tests may be compared on the same scale
• Allows comparison of accuracy between several tests.
How it may be used:
• Can give a visual assessment of test accuracy
• May be used to generate decision thresholds or “cut off” values
• Can be used to generate confidence intervals for sensitivity and specificity and likelihood ratios.
In this LITFL article, ROC curves are discussed in detail, but without apocryphal gibberish.
If one were to restrict oneself to what is manageable within a 10-minute timeframe while mentioning all the important points, one would produce an asnwer which resembles the following:
That, of course, is the bare bones of the answer. If one were to succumb to basic human urges, one would produce an answer which resembles the following:
Advantages of the ROC curves:
Bewick, Viv, Liz Cheek, and Jonathan Ball. "Statistics review 13: receiver operating characteristic curves." Critical care 8.6 (2004): 508.
Sedgwick, Philip. "Receiver operating characteristic curves." BMJ 343 (2011).- rather than an article, this is more of a "self-directed learning" question with an elaborate explanatory answer.
Fan, Jerome, Suneel Upadhye, and Andrew Worster. "Understanding receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves." Cjem 8.1 (2006): 19-20.
Akobeng, Anthony K. "Understanding diagnostic tests 3: receiver operating characteristic curves." Acta Paediatrica 96.5 (2007): 644-647.
Ling, Charles X., Jin Huang, and Harry Zhang. "AUC: a statistically consistent and more discriminating measure than accuracy." IJCAI. Vol. 3. 2003.
Greiner, M., D. Pfeiffer, and R. D. Smith. "Principles and practical application of the receiver-operating characteristic analysis for diagnostic tests." Preventive veterinary medicine 45.1 (2000): 23-41.