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Web resource helps doctors assess life expectancy in older patients


Narrator:       This is Science Today. A new Web resource is helping doctors assess the life expectancy of older patients. Dr. Sei Lee, an assistant professor of medicine and geriatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, is part of a team that completed the first systematic review of prognostic indices used to calculate a patient's life expectancy and created a website called ePrognosis that puts these indices in one central location. Lee says the most important consequence of an accurate estimate of life expectancy is it allows clinicians to recommend treatments and care that will best help a patient and not result in unnecessary, invasive interventions.

Lee:               The last thing that we'd like to do is recommend or actually do something that is unlikely to help a patient and by having an accurate determination of life expectancy, we can make sure that we are recommending the care that is most likely to help them.

Narrator:       As for some criticism that this information could lead to rationing of care, Lee says on balance, the benefits far outweigh those concerns. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.