We can say for instance about patients diagnosed with tuberculosis that the X-ray tells the physician something about the disease progression in the near future:

An X-ray is essential to determine the prognosis in tuberculosis patients.

But is there a single word to describe the act of determining the patient's prognosis? I have seen the word "prognostication":

An X-ray is essential for prognostication in tuberculosis patients.

Although it appeals to me as a German, because the German language has the word "Prognostizierung", the word "prognostication" is seemingly not frequently in use. And from some sample sentences I conclude that this word also has an esoteric connotation, think Macbeth's witches and crystal balls. So, should I stick with the first version or is there a noun to describe this process?

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    Are you looking for "diagnose"? – Mr Lister Dec 15 '18 at 13:16
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    It wouldn't be "to diagnose". That's the act of producing a diagnosis, a statement of what's wrong. "You have tuberculosis" is a diagnosis. In parallel, the verb "to prognose" exists. That's the act of producing a prognosis, a prediction of consequence. "You have six months to live" is a prognosis. However, "prognosis" is a noun, and "essential for prognosis" is as sensible as "essential for diagnosis". – Gary Botnovcan Dec 15 '18 at 13:38
  • @GaryBotnovcan Diagnosis is the act of determining the cause of an illness, not necessarily the establishment of the disease progression in a patient. I have edited the question to make this clearer. Prognosis is the summary of the expected disease development as illustrated by your example but imho not the process of coming to this conclusion. And this process of determining the prognosis is the word, I am looking for. Apart from that, I would like to know, if my interpretation is right that the word prognostication describes rather metaphysical aspects. – Mr. T Dec 15 '18 at 14:18
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    Diagnoses don't always include cause. The diagnosis of any idiopathic condition explicitly lacks cause. In any case, the non-count senses of "diagnosis" and "prognosis" tend to refer to the processes. The countable senses tend to refer to the results. And, yes, "prognosticate" and "prognostication" tend to be associated with tea leaves and Tarot cards rather than science and research. – Gary Botnovcan Dec 15 '18 at 15:58
  • @GaryBotnovcan True, what you say about idiopathic diseases. And thanks for confirming my feeling that prognostication is wrong in this context. – Mr. T Dec 15 '18 at 17:52

I am not a doctor, but I have never heard a doctor in the US use the word "prognostication" in a medical discussion.

The noun "prognosis" is mostly used in a medical sense, which means the likely or expected future course of a disease. The word is sometimes used in a broader sense to mean the likely or expected course of something unrelated to medicine.

Although the words "prognosis" and "prognostication" share a common etymology, they have somewhat different meanings. "Prognostication" means either a "prophecy" or the "action of foreseeing the future." In modern English, at least in the US, it usually has the negative connotation of indicating little or no scientific basis for the prediction. There is an associated verb "prognosticate" that means to "prophesy," but it tends to have the same negative connotation as "prognostication."

To say "The doctor prognosticated a cure" casts a bit of doubt on the doctor's competence or honesty.

Both "prognosis" and "prognostication" are nouns. To the extent that you are looking for a verb that means the act that results in a "prognosis," "determine" is perfectly suitable as is "render." However, it is possible to cast a sentence without using such a verb. For example,

"In cases of tuberculosis, an X-ray is essential to a reliable prognosis" is equivalent to "In cases of tuberculosis, an X-ray is essential in determining a reliable prognosis."

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    Just what the doctor ordered. Thanks for this elaborate answer. – Mr. T Dec 15 '18 at 17:46

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