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The accuracy of clinician predictions of survival in the Prognosis in Palliative care Study II (PiPS2): A prospective observational study

Stone, Patrick C; Chu, Christina; Todd, Chris; Griffiths, Jane; Kalpakidou, Anastasia; Keeley, Vaughan; Omar, Rumana Z; (2022) The accuracy of clinician predictions of survival in the Prognosis in Palliative care Study II (PiPS2): A prospective observational study. PLOS ONE , 17 (4) , Article e0267050. 10.1371/journal.pone.0267050. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Prognostic information is important for patients with cancer, their families, and clinicians. In practice, survival predictions are made by clinicians based on their experience, judgement, and intuition. Previous studies have reported that clinicians' survival predictions are often inaccurate. This study reports a secondary analysis of data from the Prognosis in Palliative care Study II (PiPS2) to assess the accuracy of survival estimates made by doctors and nurses. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Adult patients (n = 1833) with incurable, locally advanced or metastatic cancer, recently referred to palliative care services (community teams, hospital teams, and inpatient palliative care units) were recruited. Doctors (n = 431) and nurses (n = 777) provided independent prognostic predictions and an agreed multi-professional prediction for each patient. Clinicians provided prognostic estimates in several formats including predictions about length of survival and probability of surviving to certain time points. There was a minimum follow up of three months or until death (whichever was sooner; maximum follow-up 783 days). Agreed multi-professional predictions about whether patients would survive for days, weeks or months+ were accurate on 61.9% of occasions. The positive predictive value of clinicians' predictions about imminent death (within one week) was 77% for doctors and 79% for nurses. The sensitivity of these predictions was low (37% and 35% respectively). Specific predictions about how many weeks patients would survive were not very accurate but showed good discrimination (patients estimated to survive for shorted periods had worse outcomes). The accuracy of clinicians' probabilistic predictions (assessed using Brier's scores) was consistently better than chance, improved with proximity to death and showed good discrimination between groups of patients with different survival outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: Using a variety of different approaches, this study found that clinicians predictions of survival show good discrimination and accuracy, regardless of whether the predictions are about how long or how likely patients are to survive. Accuracy improves with proximity to death. Although the positive predictive value of estimates of imminent death are relatively high, the sensitivity of such predictions is relatively low. Despite limitations, the clinical prediction of survival should remain the benchmark against which any innovations in prognostication are judged. STUDY REGISTRATION: ISRCTN13688211. http://www.isrctn.com/ISRCTN13688211.

Type: Article
Title: The accuracy of clinician predictions of survival in the Prognosis in Palliative care Study II (PiPS2): A prospective observational study
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0267050
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0267050
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2022 Stone et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: Nurses, Palliative care, Prognosis, Cancers and neoplasms, Inpatients, Mathematical models, Metastasis, Metastatic tumors
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10147040
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