What is a Quality-Adjusted Life Year?

Quality-Adjusted Life Year (QALY) is a measure used in health economics to quantify health outcomes’ value in quantity and quality of life. The QALY measures the amount of healthy life gained due to a particular medical intervention, such as a new treatment for a disease. It takes into account the length of time that a patient lives and the quality of life they experience during that time. This quality of life measurement is based on a scale that ranges from 0 (death) to 1 (perfect health). The QALY compares the relative benefits of different health interventions and determines the most cost-effective approach to improving health outcomes. For example, if two treatments for a condition both extend a patient’s life by a similar length, the treatment that results in a higher quality of life would be considered more valuable in terms of QALYs. In healthcare resource allocation decisions, QALYs are used to prioritize interventions that produce the greatest health benefits, considering the intervention’s cost and the potential return in terms of improved health outcomes. The QALY is a widely used metric in evaluating the cost-effectiveness of health interventions. It is often used to decide which public health systems should fund treatments or services.