National Academy of Medicine

New Summary Measures of Population Health and Well-being for Implementation by Health Plans and Accountable Care Organizations

By Thomas E. Kottke, Jason M. Gallagher, Sachin Rauri, Juliana O. Tillema, Nicolaas P. Pronk and Susan M. Knudson
July 07, 2016 | Discussion Paper

Health plans and accountable care organizations measure many indicators of patient health, with standard metrics that track factors such as patient experience and cost. They lack, however, a summary measure of the third leg of the Triple Aim, population health.

In response, HealthPartners has developed summary measures that align with the recommendations of the For the Public’s Health series of reports from the Institute of Medicine. The summary measures comprise 3 components: current health, sustainability of health, and well-being. The measure of current health is disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) calculated from health care claims and death records. The sustainability of health measure comprises member reporting of 6 behaviors associated with health plus a clinical preventive services index that indicates adherence to evidence-based preventive care guidelines. Life satisfaction represents the summary measure of subjective well-being.

HealthPartners will use the summary measures to identify and address conditions and factors that have the greatest impact on the health and well-being of its patients, members, and community. The method could easily be implemented by other institutions and organizations in the United States, helping to address a persistent need in population health measurement for improvement.

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New Summary Measures of Population Health


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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and not necessarily of the authors’ organizations, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies). The paper is intended to help inform and stimulate discussion. It is not a report of the NAM or the National Academies. Copyright by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.