Quality-Adjusted Life Years (QALYs)
The quality-adjusted life year (QALY) is a standardized measure of disease burden which combines both survival and health-related qualities of life into a single index. The QALY is primarily used in cost-effectiveness analyses to guide decisions regarding the distribution of limited healthcare resources among competing health programs or interventions for a population of interest but has also been used to aid decisions regarding clinical management and individual patient care.
Conceptually based in expected utility theory, the QALY rests on the assumption that preference-weighted values may be attached to specific health states relative to the time spent in those states. Because the QALY incorporates both quantity and quality of life, it therefore provides a reasonable estimate of the amount of quality time (i.e., health benefit) an individual may experience as a result of a particular health program or intervention. Furthermore, comparisons between programs or interventions...
References and Further Readings
- Drummond, M. F., Sculpher, M. J., Torrance, G. W., O’Brien, B. J., & Stoddart, G. L. (2005). Methods for the economic evaluation of health care programmes. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar