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A Canadian peer-reviewed journal of population health and health services research

August 2014

Health-adjusted potential years of life lost due to treatable causes of death and illness

by Sara Allin, Erin Graves, Michel Grignon, Diana Ridgeway and Li Wang

In 1996, Wolfson proposed a method of measuring health-adjusted life expectancy (HALE), based on vital statistics and survey data. The concept of HALE had been introduced in Canada in 1993 by Berthelot et al. and applied worldwide by Romieu and Robine. The proposal was in response to a recommendation by the 1991 National Task Force on Health Information that Canada should use a synthetic measure of average population health, which combined mortality and morbidity, to examine trends in population health, inform health policy, and monitor health system performance. Any synthetic measure of average population health is a function of many determinants beyond health care, but it is possible that deterioration in the measure could signal a problem in the health care system of a country.

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