Skip to main content

IoM releases report on ‘yardsticks’ to measure health, well-being


WASHINGTON The Institute of Medicine on Wednesday released a report that identifies 20 health indicators policymakers, the media and the public can use as “yardsticks” to measure the overall health and well-being of Americans.

And going forward, taking an historical look at these health metrics may provide a score card of sorts to help measure the performance of public health and care systems, IOM added.

The 20 proposed indicators reflect a range of factors that determine well-being, including how many individuals engage in certain risky or healthy behaviors, how well patients fare from the care they receive, and to what extent health professionals and facilities are meeting specific goals. 

“This report takes an important step of capturing the health of the American people with a few key indicators,” said committee chair George Isham, medical director and chief health officer, HealthPartners. “Given the gap between the relatively low performance and high costs of our healthcare system, data that is readily accessible on the Internet will be of great value in devising strategies to close this gap. We believe this set of measures, as deployed by the State of the USA project, can help move the nation toward better health.”

Accordingly, data around these indicators will be warehoused in the health section of a new State of the USA Web site. The site will aim to help people become more-informed and active participants in national discussions about important health-related topics, IOM stated.

IOM’s Proposed Health Indicators:

• Life Expectancy at Birth

• Infant Mortality

• Life Expectancy at Age 65

• Injury-Related Mortality

• Self-Reported Health Status

• Unhealthy Days, Physical and Mental

• Chronic Disease Prevalence

• Serious Psychological Distress

• Smoking

• Physical Activity

• Excessive Drinking

• Nutrition

• Obesity

• Condom Use

• Health Care Expenditures

• Insurance Coverage

• Unmet Medical, Dental, and Prescription Drug Needs

• Preventive Services

• Preventable Hospitalizations

• and Childhood Immunization.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds