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8. Calculation of QALYs for quantal and continuous health effects

Whereas DALYs are intended for representing health losses, QALYs are intended for representing remaining health, after allowing for any disease(s) that may be present.   

The directly attributable health loss approach does not attempt to model the net health of the individual taking account of all concurrent diseases. However, it can be used to estimate potential health losses in terms of lost QALYs, subject to the same limitation as before, that it considers each disease in isolation from others.

For a quantal effect, the QALY loss can be calculated as:

Equation (3)

For a continuous effect, the QALY loss can be calculated as:

Equation (4)


q = 1- QALY weight for a quantal effect

q(effect) = 1 – QALY weight expressed as a function of continuous effect size,

and where the QALY weights can differ between individuals who recover, die or live with the disease (as shown by the subscripts in equation 4).