Definition of Quality adjusted life year (QALY)

Reviewed on 3/29/2021

Quality adjusted life year (QALY): A year of life adjusted for its quality or its value. A year in perfect health is considered equal to 1.0 QALY. The value of a year in ill health would be discounted. For example, a year bedridden might have a value equal to 0.5 QALY.


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