Definition - What does Gold Standard mean?
A gold standard in clinical research and testing refers to a methodology or benchmark that has been designated as the most accurate for a specified test or process. When used in the context of laboratory testing for assessment or diagnosis, a gold standard test is the one accepted by most professionals as the most reliable and accurate.
Any other form of diagnostic or assessment test will be compared to and measured against this standard to determine its validity and usefulness.
In some instances, a simpler or less expensive test may be ordered prior to the use of a gold standard test. A gold standard test may then be used to confirm the accuracy of the results obtained from other methods.
WorkplaceTesting explains Gold Standard
The term gold standard originated from the use of the metal, gold, as a measure of value in monetary systems. The term has since become synonymous for any standard which is deemed to be the best and most likely to produce predictable, stable results.
In clinical research and testing, researchers, regulatory agencies, or professional organizations often designated a particular test or method as the gold standard for evaluating a substance, condition or other matter. For example, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and other federal agencies determine which tests, such as the urine drug test, will be used as gold standards for workplace drug and alcohol testing.
Gold standards receive this designation after thorough evaluation and confirmation of the method's accuracy. This accepted standard is then used to evaluate any subsequently developed methods or tests. For example, while blood and skin tests may be used to diagnose food allergies, the more time-consuming double-blinded, placebo-controlled oral food challenge is considered the gold standard. Results of other food allergy tests may be confirmed using an oral food challenge.