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Better Methods Of Evaluation Needed To Accurately Measure Progress Toward Health, Economic Wellbeing

The Hill: Policymakers relying too much on life expectancy in formulating health policy
Jacquelyn Corley, neurological surgery resident at Duke University Medical Center, research fellow at Harvard’s Program for Global Surgery and Social Change, and human rights journalist

“…Even in many of the countries where the most health care progress has been made, there have been few notable economic improvements. … A study published earlier in July in the Lancet Global Health illuminates the discrepancies between improved health outcomes and economic wellbeing. The authors developed a new metric for population level measurements, called poverty-free life expectancy (PFLE). … The authors of the study argue that traditional benchmarks for health, especially life expectancy, fail to accurately capture societal improvements or problems, and that adding the PFLE to our understanding of global populations would allow policymakers to better consider the ‘broad consequences of decisions, policies, and reforms.’ … Regardless of whether PFLE is the right way to quantify poverty in populations, all can agree that global poverty needs to be addressed aggressively and that policymakers, researchers, and others involved in global health need a multidisciplinary approach that will help them properly tackle health care from every angle, including the relationship between poverty and health…” (7/24).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.