Publication Abstract

Authors: Erickson P, Kendall EA, Anderson JP, Kaplan RM

Title: Using composite health status measures to assess the nation's health.

Journal: Med Care 27(3 Suppl):S66-76

Date: 1989 Mar

Abstract: Research in progress at the National Center for Health Statistics for evaluating the usefulness of composite measures of health status for assessing the nation's health is described. Three measures suitable for use in the general population, the Health Insurance Experiment-Functional Limitations (HIE-FL), the Health Utility Index (HUI), and the Quality of Well-being (QWB) scale, have been mapped to data collected in the 1980 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Analysis using current algorithms for making composite function status measures according to the QWB methods suggests that traditional single indicators of health tend to overestimate the level of health by about 10%. When symptoms and problems are added to the composite function score, the overestimate as measured by the single indicator is at least 50%. The authors are continuing to validate these algorithms, to develop similar ones for the HIE-FL and HUI, and to extend the analysis to data collected in 1977, 1979, and 1984. Current results indicate that to realize fully the benefits of composite measures, well-established, valid, and reliable measures of health-related quality of life should be included as part of the regular NHIS data collection procedures.