A Question of Value: Measuring the Impact of Chronic Disease

The indirect costs of illness-those resulting from lost functional capacity rather than from medical expenditures-have long been measured in quantitative economic terms. A recent survey of rheumatoid arthritics and osteoarthritics employs, however, an alternative method of estimation based on qualitative values. Both the persons with arthritis and the health controls indicated that maintaining social contacts and personal relationships, shopping, running errands, and doing chores for their family and themselves were much more important than work-related activities. Policy efforts should thus target disease interventions toward activity losses assigned the highest personal value rather than attempt to define the dollar value of these losses.

Author(s): Deborah P. Lubeck; Edward H. Yelin

Download the Article

Read on JSTOR

Volume 66, Issue 3 (pages 444–464)
Published in 1988