Measurement of health-related quality by multimorbidity groups in primary health care.


Centre of Economic Engineering, Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia, Spain. [Email]


BACKGROUND : Increased life expectancy in Western societies does not necessarily mean better quality of life. To improve resources management, management systems have been set up in health systems to stratify patients according to morbidity, such as Clinical Risk Groups (CRG). The main objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of multimorbidity on health-related quality of life (HRQL) in primary care.
METHODS : An observational cross-sectional study, based on a representative random sample (n = 306) of adults from a health district (N = 32,667) in east Spain (Valencian Community), was conducted in 2013. Multimorbidity was measured by stratifying the population with the CRG system into nine mean health statuses (MHS). HRQL was assessed by EQ-5D dimensions and the EQ Visual Analogue Scale (EQ VAS). The effect of the CRG system, age and gender on the utility value and VAS was analysed by multiple linear regression. A predictive analysis was run by binary logistic regression with all the sample groups classified according to the CRG system into the five HRQL dimensions by taking the "healthy" group as a reference. Multivariate logistic regression studied the joint influence of the nine CRG system MHS, age and gender on the five EQ-5D dimensions.
RESULTS : Of the 306 subjects, 165 were female (mean age of 53). The most affected dimension was pain/discomfort (53%), followed by anxiety/depression (42%). The EQ-5D utility value and EQ VAS progressively lowered for the MHS with higher morbidity, except for MHS 6, more affected in the five dimensions, save self-care, which exceeded MHS 7 patients who were older, and MHS 8 and 9 patients, whose condition was more serious. The CRG system alone was the variable that best explained health problems in HRQL with 17%, which rose to 21% when associated with female gender. Age explained only 4%.
CONCLUSIONS : This work demonstrates that the multimorbidity groups obtained by the CRG classification system can be used as an overall indicator of HRQL. These utility values can be employed for health policy decisions based on cost-effectiveness to estimate incremental quality-adjusted life years (QALY) with routinely e-health data. Patients under 65 years with multimorbidity perceived worse HRQL than older patients or disease severity. Knowledge of multimorbidity with a stronger impact can help primary healthcare doctors to pay attention to these population groups.