Evidence-Based Medicine, Part 5. An Introduction to Critical Appraisal of Articles on Prognosis

Roberto Cardarelli, DO, MPH, and Joseph R. Oberdorfer, OMS IV
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: March 13, 2007

Accepted: July 9, 2007

Published: August 1, 2007

J Osteopath Med; 107(8): 315-319

This article provides an introductory step-by-step process to appraise an article on prognosis. The authors introduce these principles using a systematic approach and case-based format. The process of assessing the validity of an article on prognosis, determining its importance, and applying it to an individual patient is reviewed. The concepts of study population homogeneity, sufficient follow-up periods, and completeness are discussed to help physicians determine an article’s validity. Instruction on how to evaluate confidence intervals is provided. Finally, information that is learned from the previously mentioned steps is applied to patient care. Study generalizability and the role of patient values, expectations, and concerns are also addressed. The skills learned from appraising an article on prognosis in the manner outlined provides a solid basis for life-long learning and improved patient care.

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