The term quality of life, as used in health research and policy, refers primarily to the quantification of the cost of being in a less-than-perfect health state. Such quantification is motivated largely by economic analyses, which require comparison of all costs and benefits of a policy or situation, including not only mortality and resource costs but also morbidity. Without such quantification, it is impossible to assess the net benefits of policies that affect health or to make formal analyses comparing the costs and benefits of different treatments. Various methods exist for eliciting quality of life quantifications and calculating quality-adjusted life years (QALYs). However, all of them have major drawbacks, and thus while it is always possible to generate the needed numbers, it is difficult ...

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