- noun the process of testing for the presence of something
- noun the process of selecting somebody or something as suitable for a particular purpose
- noun the act of evaluating or assessing new product ideas
- noun the process or practice of considering a range of items or people and only selecting some
(written as Screening)Screening is a means of detecting a disease in its pre-symptomatic stage (i.e. when no symptoms are apparent). Contrary to much popular opinion, screening is not always a good thing. The number of people screened is typically large and those showing evidence of disease will then normally receive further (typically more costly and/or more risky) confirmatory tests and treatment. The theory is that early detection enables early treatment, though whether this is more effective (than, say, watchful waiting) or more cost-effective, is an empirical matter rather than one of principle (or ideology) and ought to be so treated. Screening programmes are subject to problems with false positives and false negatives. The evaluation of screening programmes is subject to bias (a common one is lead-time bias). A screening programme is a health technology that is often a suitable subject for a trial and for cost-effectiveness or cost-utility analysis. Some dangers from unthoughtful screening (for neuroblastoma in children) are illustrated by Morris (2002).
- noun the process of testing large numbers of people to see if any of them have a particular type of disease.