What is the difference between Sensitivity and Specificity? - ProProfs Discuss

# What is the difference between Sensitivity and Specificity?

Asked by R. Barnes, Last updated: Jun 28, 2024

#### M. Pollock

A person who loves taking epic photos and an avid traveler

M. Pollock, Photographer, BA, Camden Town

Sensitivity and specificity are different words with different meaning. They are the statistical measures of the performance of a binary classification test that are mostly used in medicine. They are used to identify whether a patient has a disease or not.

The sensitivity test is also called a True positive rate (TRP). It is used to measure the proportion of samples that give a positive result in a test question. An example of a sensitivity test is the percentage of people that have some illness.

The formula for sensitivity is = Number of true positives / (Number of true positives + number of a false negative)

The formula for specificity is = Number of true positives/ (Number of true positives+ Number of false negatives)

#### E. Barnes

But Can you play this?

E. Barnes, Professional Gamer, Professional Gamer, Washington

The terms sensitivity and specificity are both medical terms. Their major differences can easily be highlighted when you understand what the two terms stand for. The term sensitivity is used to describe the number of times someone tests positive to a particular disease. The reason for this is to show and to be sure if someone actually has the disease.

The term specificity is used to state the number of times someone tests negative for a particular disease he/she is not suffering from. This kind of test is needed to really show someone is not suffering from a particular disease.

Another way of differentiating the two terms is by considering the formulas used in calculating the two. The sensitivity of a laboratory test is calculated by using the formula: Sensitivity = [(TP/TP+FN)] x 100. In contrast, the specificity of a laboratory test is calculated by using the formula: Specificity = [(TN/TN+FP)] x 100.

#### T. Wikati

T. Wikati, Technical Writer, New York

Sensitivity and specificity are two terms that are used in the medical world. They are important because they help those in the field learn about the many types of diseases that are around. Sensitivity is the need to know which people have the disease that is being tested.

This differs from specificity, which is used to know which people do not have the disease that has been tested for. Many people may know this term to be called the true negative rate.

Another term that is used in regards to specificity is the high-specificity test, which removes anyone who does not have the disease. The purpose of this is to eliminate false positives.

#### Daniel Drake

Daniel Drake

Sensitivity and specificity are opposites. In the medical world, these two are needed in order to learn more about the various diseases that are available. Sensitivity means that there is a need to identify the people who are afflicted with the disease that is being tested. Specificity is known to be the ability of the test to identify the people who are not afflicted with the disease.

This is also known as the true negative rate. A high-specificity test means that this will be able to remove all of the people who do not have the disease, which means that there will not be available false-positive results that can make things confusing.