Advanced Diagnostic Research

Diagnostic research in the past focused particularly on estimating the sensitivity and specificity of individual diagnostic tests. This online medical course will demonstrate that this so called ‘test research’ is not necessarily the same as diagnostic research. Furthermore, we will widen the horizon by proposing modern methods of diagnostic research and data analysis in which a patient’s test result can and should be considered in the context of other patient characteristics or test results. These methods enable 1. direct estimation of individual probabilities of disease presence based on all diagnostic information and 2. evaluation of the extent to which a particular diagnostic test has true added value in the clinical context. Also, conventional and advanced methods for systematic reviews of diagnostic tests will be presented.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this course, you'll should be able to:

  • Describe the principles and design of primary diagnostic studies
  • Describe the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches in primary diagnostic studies
  • Describe the validity aspects of primary diagnostic studies
  • Describe the methods for data collection in the different study designs of primary diagnostic studies
  • Explain the differences between different design and analytical approaches in primary diagnostic studies
  • Name the different measures of diagnostic value or accuracy that can be calculated from primary diagnostic studies
  • Explain and use modern design and analytical approaches instead of the classical approach in primary diagnostic studies
  • Describe the clinical utility and health technology assessment of diagnostic impact studies
  • Choose an appropriate study design and analytical approach to be used in a specific situation or to answer a specific study question in both primary diagnostic studies


As this is a university course, it is covered by academic accreditation. Upon passing the final exam, you will receive a recognized certificate from Utrecht University and the UMC Utrecht.           

Course Deadlines

Week 0
Sunday before start date - introduce yourself

Week 1
Sunday – complete Learning Unit 1

Week 2
Friday – complete Learning Units 2 and 3

Week 3
Friday – complete Learning Unit 4

Week 4
Monday – complete Learning Unit 5
Monday – submit Final Assignment

Completing all required assignments and meeting the deadlines are requirements to take the final exam.


This course includes a take-home exam which has to be submitted online before the deadline. 


Software program R. Available for free.

Course staff


Pick a date for this course:
(Enrollment deadline: 25 March 2019 - 23:59 CET)
33 days left.

Quick overview

  • 1 Apr 2019 – 21 Apr 2019
  • 3 weeks
  • 14 hrs/wk
  • Academic Certificate
  • 1.5 EC
  • Online learning with guidance and support
  • English
  • Weblectures, individual assignments, group assignments
  • Desktop, Laptop, Smartphone, Tablet
  • 785

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