Estimating health adjusted age at death (HAAD)
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionPLOS ONE. 2020, 15 (7), e0235955. 10.1371/journal.pone.0235955
Objectives: At any point in time, a person’s lifetime health is the number of healthy life years they are expected to experience during their lifetime. In this article we propose an equity-relevant health metric, Health Adjusted Age at Death (HAAD), that facilitates comparison of lifetime health for individuals at the onset of different medical conditions, and allows for the assessment of which patient groups are worse off. A method for estimating HAAD is presented, and we use this method to rank four conditions in six countries according to several criteria of “worse off” as a proof of concept. Methods: For individuals with specific conditions HAAD consists of two components: past health (before disease onset) and future expected health (after disease onset). Four conditions (acute myeloid leukemia (AML), acute lymphoid leukemia (ALL), schizophrenia, and epilepsy) are analysed in six countries (Ethiopia, Haiti, China, Mexico, United States and Japan). Data from 2017 for all countries and for all diseases were obtained from the Global Burden of Disease Study database. In order to assess who are the worse off, we focus on four measures: the proportion of affected individuals who are expected to have HAAD<20 (T20), the 25th and 75th percentiles of HAAD for affected individuals (Q1 and Q3, respectively), and the average HAAD (aHAAD) across all affected individuals. Results: Even in settings where aHAAD is similar for two conditions, other measures may vary. One example is AML (aHAAD = 59.3, T20 = 2.0%, Q3-Q1 = 14.8) and ALL (58.4, T20 = 4.6%, Q3-Q1 = 21.8) in the US. Many illnesses, such as epilepsy, are associated with more lifetime health in high-income settings (Q1 in Japan = 59.2) than in low-income settings (Q1 in Ethiopia = 26.3). Conclusion: Using HAAD we may estimate the distribution of lifetime health of all individuals in a population, and this distribution can be incorporated as an equity consideration in setting priorities for health interventions.