02 de desembre 2014

The successful recent trends in healthy life expectancy

Esperança de vida, lliure de discapacitat i en bona salut a Catalunya

If there is one measure to monitor continously in welfare policy, this is the case for healthy life expectancy. If somebody wants to track wether citizens, clinicians, health managers, politicians, firms, etc... are contributing to better life in the health arena, then this is the aggregate measure. If somebody were able to establish the right incentives for achieving the best benchmark, this would be great. Kindig suggested long time ago that "purchasing population health" should be valued according to healthy life expectancy.
Fortunately, new data about recent trends has been published and we can confirm that has increased over a period of 7 years, between 2005 and 2012 from 63 to 65.7 years for men and from 60.6 years  to 66.1 for women . In women the proportion of years lived in good health has gone up by 5 percentage points, from 72 to 77 % in men and has increased only one point from 81 to 82 %. In any case, in marginal and in absolute terms there is a substantial improvement . Nobody would have been able to foresee changes of this magnitude.
Some months ago I showed in this blog an alternative measure, the morbidity-adjusted life expectancy.  An alternative construct that allows easier geographic and temporal comparisons.
We are on the right track, contrary to those that thought with the crisis and cutbacks things would worsen. As you know and I have explained many times, there are lot of areas for improvement and we have not to reduce our effort to mantain this successful trend.

PS. My congratulations to the authors of the report. Excellent and helpful work.