Predicting Mortality and Healthcare Utilization with a Single Question

Self-rated health measures have gained in popularity as a substitute for administratively derived tools. The objective of this study was to determine whether a single-item general self-rated health (GSRH) measure could predict health outcomes including mortality and clinical events in a large veteran outpatient population. In addition, the discriminative ability of GSRH was compared with multi-item risk predictors.

The key findings were:

  • GSRH single-item measure was predictive of mortality, hospitalizations and outpatient services.
  • GSRH single-item measure performed as well as the multi-item self-reported health risk predictors.
  • Patients who characterized their health as “poor” were at a significantly greater risk of dying or requiring health care resources than those reporting their health as “fair” or better.