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Overall Health Status

Summary measures of health status are statistics that use mortality data, or combine mortality and morbidity data to represent overall population health in a single number.1 Examples of summary measures include general health status and healthy days measures from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) surveys, life expectancy, and years of potential life lost (YPLL). Measures that combine mortality and morbidity include health-adjusted life years (HALYs) or health-adjusted life expectancy (HALE), quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), years of healthy life (YHLs), and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs).

1. Molla MT, Wagener DK, Madans JH. Summary measures of population health: Methods for calculating healthy life expectancy. Healthy People Statistical Notes, no. 21. Hyattsville, Maryland: National Center for Health Statistics. August 2001. Downloaded from on 2/10/2015.
Bergner and Rothman2 have suggested that health status assessment measures serve four different functions, including examination of the health of general populations, clinical interventions and their effects, changes in the health care delivery system, and health promotion activities and their effects.

2. Bergner, M, and Rothman, ML. Health Status Measures: An Overview and Guide for Selection. Annual Review of Public Health 8:191-210, 1987. As cited in Marilyn J. Field and Marthe R. Gold (Eds.) Summarizing Population Health: Directions for the Development and Application of Population Metrics, Committee on Summary Measures of Population Health. Institute of Medicine. Washington D.C., National Academy Press. 1998. Downloaded from on 2/10/2015.

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Content updated: Fri, 10 Feb 2017 13:24:18 MST