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KPI of the Day – State Government: # Healthy life expectancy

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life expectancy

Definition

Measures how many years are lived in good health, over a person’s lifespan.

Purpose

To indicate the expectation of life, for different health states.

Recommendations

This KPI is invaluable for predicting future needs, evaluating health programs and identifying trends and inequalities. The results of this KPI can inform planning of health and social services, long term care and pensions.

Also called # Healthy Life Years or # Disability free life expectancy, this KPI indicates whether the extra years of life gained through gradual increases in human longevity are spent in good health or not. Thereby it functions as an appropriate tool for assessing a nation’s health and wellbeing together with the more widely used # Life expectancy at birth.

While the latter reflects on quantity – length of life, the # Healthy life expectancy also reflects on the quality of life. In order to improve # Healthy life expectancy, nations worldwide are struggling to reduce the incidence, duration and severity of major diseases that cause morbidity and, nevertheless, mortality.

Besides the government’s implicit goal of ensuring the wellbeing of its citizens, maintaining a # Healthy life expectancy provides inside information for a more efficient resource allocation and planning within the health-care system.

High values indicate a positive situation for individuals (provided that a long healthy life is a fundamental human objective) as well as for the entire society through lesser budget spend on healthcare and a higher degree of economic productivity (since a person’s working lifespan increases).

Some recommendations on maintaining # Healthy life expectancy include the following:

  • Ensuring that health and social care systems are sustainable, efficient and adequately cover the needs of citizens with illnesses and disabilities;
  • Being aware of the opportunity costs (benefits foregone) of insufficient resource allocation for preventing ill health and injuries;
  • Allocating resources for the implementation of campaigns to inform the population on effective ways to reach and maintain a healthy life style.

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