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|Issue 115||August 2016|
The report is a product of the VA/HSR&D Evidence Synthesis Program.
Life Expectancy Calculators
Estimation of life expectancy serves an important role in clinical decisions about screening for disease and treatment in primary care practices. Increasingly, clinical guidelines recommend a course of action in context of the patient's life expectancy. While many tools have been developed to estimate life expectancy or the likelihood of surviving for a period of time, there are no well-established decision support tools that are broadly applicable to primary care. For a life expectancy calculator to gain widespread use in primary care, it needs to have acceptable and validated predictive accuracy at decision-relevant times such as six months or five years, proven usefulness, and be readily available.
This systematic review updated the literature search on life expectancy calculators. More specifically, a life expectancy decision support tool would be electronically implemented to provide quantitative survival estimates to VA primary care providers who, along with their patients, would use the estimates when making healthcare decisions, thereby improving patient outcomes and healthcare value. Investigators with VA's Evidence-based Synthesis Program Center located in Minneapolis, Minnesota searched MEDLINE from 2011 to May 2016, limiting the search to studies in English and those that focused on individuals aged 45 years and older. From 51 studies selected for full review, 11 were selected to address key questions in this report.
Summary of Review
If a life expectancy calculator is made available, it remains to be determined whether primary care providers would use it – or whether it would improve healthcare delivery, resource use, patient experiences, or outcomes.
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ESP is currently soliciting review topics from the broader VA community. Nominations will be accepted electronically using the online Topic Submission Form. If your topic is selected for a synthesis, you will be contacted by an ESP Center to refine the questions and determine a timeline for the report.
This Management e-Brief is provided to inform you about recent HSR&D findings that may be of interest. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the Department of Veterans Affairs. If you have any questions or comments about this Brief, please email CIDER. The Center for Information Dissemination and Education Resources (CIDER) is a VA HSR&D Resource Center charged with disseminating important HSR&D findings and information to policy makers, managers, clinicians, and researchers working to improve the health and care of Veterans.
This report is a product of VA/HSR&D's Quality Enhancement Research Initiative's (QUERI) Evidence-Based Synthesis Program (ESP), which was established to provide timely and accurate synthesis of targeted healthcare topics of particular importance to VA managers and policymakers – and to disseminate these reports throughout VA.
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