QALY Using the EQ-5D Index System
In 2006, the building of such catalogue was completed. You can now search for your favorite value of QALY at http://www.ohsu.edu/epc/mdm/calculator.htm using the EQ-5D Index Score Calculator. There are other health status measures used to create QALYs include the Health Utilities Index (HUI) the Quality of Well-Being Scale (QWB) and the Health and Activity Limitation Index (HALex). But it seems that EQ-5D is the one most frequently used right now.
The EQ-5D index is a 5-item descriptive system. It quantifies 5 dimensions of health status: morbidity, pain and discomfort, anxiety/depression, self-care and usual activities. Each dimension is accessed at 3 levels, namely, no problem, some problems and extreme problems. The EQ-5D is adjusted for other factors including age, gender, race, ethnicity and income.
So if you had colon cancer and you are a 65 year old white female, your EQ-5D index for quality-adjusted life-year is 0.93. That is if you live 1 year with colon cancer, it is only worth 93% of a year with full health and no diseases. If you have two conditions at the same time, let’s say, colon cancer and neurotic disorder, your EQ-5D index is 0.79.
Now, you know what a QALY is, how much do you think a quality-adjusted life-year costs? There is no consensus, but it is generally accepted in the community of health economists that a health intervention would be cost-effective if it costs less than $50,000 per QALY. This figure of $50,000 per QALY has been around for decades, so it may change soon in the future.