What is the Prognosis?


The patient wants to know if they will need to go on dialysis.

What do you need to know to advise a patient about their prognosis and the natural history of their condition?


  • Review your patient’s condition.
  • Determine the important aspects in the literature to be considered for a prognosis and natural history.
  • Apply your knowledge to create a prognosis and natural history for your patient.
What Do You Need To Do?

Refresh your memory- What do you need to know? Do you have a general understanding of the following: causes, risk factors, pathophysiology, staging, etc.?

Are there specific outcomes associated with patients that have defined characteristics?

Is there epidemiological data available to support your prognosis?

Make connections by applying your knowledge in order to provide your patient with a prognosis and natural history of their condition.

Why Is This Important?

Developing the skill of assessing your knowledge of a condition and knowing when to search the literature will allow you to give your patient an informed prognosis and natural history of their condition.


How Can You Make These Connections?

Take the following quiz to assess how much you know about CKD:

Quiz Yourself

Check the appropriate resource to refresh your memory on trusted, well-established information.

Access Medicine is a collection of online textbooks, assessments, images, illustrations, diagnostic and point-of-care tools. Use Access Medicine to learn the basics about the disease of interest.

PubMed is a biomedical database that can be used to search for systematic reviews.

DynaMed Plus is a databases of topic reviews and summary information put together by clinical experts. Disease entries on DynaMed Plus typically have a section for Prognosis information.

Using the Resources

Access Medicine

Enter your term in the main search bar – can be the full term or an acronym (can search for “chronic kidney disease” or “CKD”).

There are possibilities to narrow your search by textbook or topic (left hand side of results screen). You can also limit by publication category: books, quick reference, multimedia, images, cases, or patient education.

Access Medicine is available via mobile applications.



On the homepage, use the main search bar to enter your search terms.

Enter your terms using the appropriate Boolean operators (OR, AND, NOT). The results will appear in the next screen.

Apply the Review filter. Search the refined literature for systematic reviews that have been written about your topic.

DynaMed Plus

Access through the Library’s website, under the “Top Resources” heading – http://library.cumc.columbia.edu

Enter your term in the main search bar – can be the full name or an acronym (can search for “chronic kidney disease” or “CKD”).

Select the appropriate entry.

Use the menu on the left side of the screen to jump to the appropriate section: General Information, Epidemiology, Treatment, Complications and Prognosis, etc.

DynaMed Plus is available via mobile applications.


Note: DynaMed Plus provides a section for entries specifically on complications and prognosis. Try searching here first and then moving on to PubMed and Access Medicine for more comprehensive information.

For more information please visit the Learning at Your Own Pace tutorials page on the library website – http://library.cumc.columbia.edu/learning-your-pace-tutorials

Review The Important Concepts

The following review activity will test your knowledge of CKD prognoses and the information you learned about in this section:

CKD Prognosis Review Activity


Question yourself!  The best way to calibrate how much you know about the prognosis of a condition is to ask yourself questions.

Always double check your knowledge! Never assume that you know everything.

Remember the following steps are essential when giving a prognosis:

  1. Identify that you have a question about the prognosis of a medical condition.
  2. Evaluate what you know about that condition.  Calibration is key.
  3. Choose an appropriate resource to find the appropriate information: Access Medicine, PubMed, DynaMed Plus.
  4. Use that resource efficiently to get the information you need quickly.