What Is The Difference Between A Screening And A Comprehensive Diagnostic Evaluation?

Question: What is the difference between a screening and a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation?

Answer: A screening is a survey of a general population or an at risk group to look for a specific condition. A screening by definition has to be relatively quick, easy to implement and have to have relative good sensitivity and specificity to try to identify those individuals who are potentially at risk for the problem.

The diagnostic evaluation then looks at those individuals and says, "Is the problem there or not?" And the diagnostic evaluation has multiple components. It has a physical examination, history that's obtained, evaluations in multiple areas such as cognition, speech and language, and motor skills, testing to look for any kind specific causes for that condition, as well as looking for other associated problems that sometimes will occur with that condition. In other words, it's an in depth look to get down to the bottom line with the associated problems that might be there at the same time.