A novel development in how we measure the success of health and care systems in helping keep people healthy.
Health systems around the world are largely set-up to focus on treating people once they have started to become unwell, and prolonging life. In other words, treating illness and increasing lifespan.
But what good is living longer, if those years added are in poor health or without a good quality of life?
If we are so focused on increasing how long we live, should we not also focus equal effort on increasing how long we live in good health?
At Outcomes Based Healthcare® we care deeply about improving people’s lives and developing ways in which health systems, like the NHS, can refocus on what matters most to people.
That is why we’ve developed HealthSpan®, a suite of related measures that can show whether people are in good health, and for what portion of their lives. In other words, measuring a population’s healthy lifespan®.
In February 2020, OBH contributed to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Longevity’s report: ‘The Health of the Nation’ – A National Strategy for Healthier Longer Lives, which sets out a strategy in order to meet the government’s mission of five extra healthy years by 2035, ensuring a renewed focus on the prevention of ill-health.
A commentary recently published in The Lancet describes this report, including OBH’s related analysis using HealthSpan®.
HealthSpan are a suite of outcomes that provide a novel and unique way of measuring the health of a population. It is an objective, data-driven, set of measures that is arguably the most important outcome of any health system. OBH can for the first time now establish the current HealthSpan for a population, as well as estimates of potential savings through improvements in HealthSpan, using linked, local health and care data. The HealthSpan suite of metrics includes:
Measures a population’s healthy lifespan
Accounts for differences in demographic factors by area
The ratio of how much a population’s life is spent in good health
Gives insight into what proportion of the population is living free of significant illness/ill health
The ‘gap’ in healthy years between the most and least deprived groups
A composite life course measure of a population’s health status over time
It’s now absolutely essential that health systems measure and monitor data on healthy lifespan, or more simply, ‘HealthSpan’. Systems can use this information to understand their HealthSpan, commit to improving how long people stay in good health, and how they will achieve these improvements. This will ensure we have a financially stable and sustainable health and care system in the future.
Arguably the most important outcome which is not routinely measured for whole populations, is the age when people first enter a period of poor health in their lives! HealthSpan is a vital emerging outcome for health systems who are integrating care, building population health management solutions. Specifically, this means planning, paying for and delivering healthcare services around improving healthy lifespans.
Outcomes Based Healthcare are experts in defining and measuring health outcomes. We offer specialist advice, tools and technology to help commissioners and providers make a reality of value-based healthcare strategies and outcomes-based contracts, tailored to specific populations and pathways.
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