Healthcare professionals and patients are (or should be) interested in understanding the benefits of health care. We should be able to know the expected treatment benefits and to see quantifiable evidence that supports those expectations. Such information is a requirement in all clinical studies and there have long been calls for the systematic recording of health outcomes. Without such information how will healthcare professionals
differentiate between treatments that yield health benefits – and those that do not? Key to the measurement of outcomes in healthcare is an understanding as to what is meant by “health”, a concept that continues to
evade a universally agreed definition. The measurement of health outcomes provides three key pieces of information – it identifies whether or not anything has changed, the direction of any change and its
magnitude. New approaches to measuring health outcomes herald new ways of managing and delivering healthcare in the twenty-first century.