Application of health status assessment measures in policy research

Donald M. Steinwachs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The application of health status measures in policy research relies consider-ably on patterns of mortality, life expectancy, and health status indicators, such as hospital readmission and institutionalization rates. In recent years the state of the art in health status measurement has advanced substantially with the development of multidimensional measures with established reliability and validity. These newer measures have not found wide application in policy research. This may reflect many factors, including the complexity of these measures, the cost of data collection, and the perception that the health status scores are not easily interpreted. It also may reflect the perceived value of simpler and unidimensional measures of health that can be translated more readily into estimates of the need for health care services. A framework is proposed for the application of health status measures in policy research. This framework emphasizes the relationship between health status and the need for care, the measurement of unmet needs for care, and the role of health policy in assuring that services are available and appropriate to meet the needs for care. A case study is used to illustrate some of the issues in using health status indicators to measure needs for care and outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S12-S26
JournalMedical care
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1989


  • Assessment of health status
  • Health measures of
  • Health status assessment
  • Policy research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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