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Monetised estimated quality-adjusted life year (QALY) losses for non-fatal injuries


Background Quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) provide a means to compare injuries using a common measurement which allows quality of life and duration of life from an injury to be considered. A more comprehensive picture of the economic losses associated with injuries can be found when QALY estimates are combined with medical and work loss costs. This study provides estimates of QALY loss.

Methods QALY loss estimates were assigned to records in the 2018 National Electronic Injury Surveillance System - All Injury Program. QALY estimates by body region and nature of injury were assigned using a combination of previous research methods. Injuries were rated on six dimensions, which identify a set of discrete qualitative impairments. Additionally, a seventh dimension, work-related disability, was included. QALY loss estimates were produced by intent and mechanism, for all emergency department-treated cases, by two disposition groups.

Results Lifetime QALY losses ranged from 0.0004 to 0.388 for treated and released injuries, and from 0.031 to 3.905 for hospitalised injuries. The 1-year monetary value of QALY losses ranged from $136 to $437 000 among both treated and released and hospitalised injuries. The lifetime monetary value of QALY losses for hospitalised injuries ranged from $16 000 to $2.1 million.

Conclusions These estimates provide information to improve knowledge about the comprehensive economic burden of injuries; direct cost elements that can be measured through financial transactions do not capture the full cost of an injury. Comprehensive assessment of the long-term cost of injuries, including quality of life losses, is critical to accurately estimate the economic burden of injuries.

  • quality of life
  • costs
  • multiple injury

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. Data may available through relevant data sharing requests.

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