National Academy of Medicine

HALE — Unification Theory for Clinical Medicine and Population Health

By Steven M. Teutsch, Dave A. Chokshi, Nicholas W. Stine, Jonathan E. Fielding
October 25, 2013 | Discussion Paper

In this discussion paper, Teutsch, Chokshi, Stine and Fielding propose using a summary measure of population health, the Health-Adjusted Life Expectancy or HALE, as tool to integrate or unite the public health focus on geographic populations and the clinical focus on individual patients. HALE can be used to explain and assess the effects of interventions on individual patients and on populations. For example, a health care provider could use the concept of HALE to discuss with a patient the effects of taking medication to control hypertension, or of introducing exercise and diet changes. Similarly, because “population HALE is simply the aggregate of individuals’ HALE,” decision makers in communities could weigh the effects on the population HALE of various types of interventions (e.g., designing safer streets, increasing tobacco taxes) to help set priorities.

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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.