What is a prognosis?

A prognosis is a likely or expected outcome or progression of a disease. Someone’s prognosis may also describe their chance of recovery or recurrence, or the risk of future health outcomes. 

A prognosis is not set in stone, though, and only serves as an estimate on how a patient will fare based on statistics from studies with other people. Some individuals may do better than these statistics, while others may do worse. 

Why is a prognosis important in healthcare?

A prognosis is essential in healthcare as it provides patients with information about their future. The patient can then use this information to make informed plans for their lives. Prognoses also serve as a basis for medical decisions regarding treatment options. 

When considering a prognosis, however, it is crucial to recognize that many of the studies providing data on which the prognosis is based may be outdated. For example, those providing a five-year survival statistic are based on treatments at least five years old. With the constantly evolving medical field, it’s likely that new and better treatments have become available.