An ideal population health outcome metric should reflect a population’s dynamic state of physical, mental and social well-being. Positive health outcomes include being alive; functioning well mentally, physically and socially; and having a sense of well-being. Negative outcomes include death, loss of function, and lack of well-being. In contrast to these health outcomes, diseases and injuries are intermediate factors that influence the likelihood of achieving a state of health.

  1. Life expectancy from birth, or age-adjusted mortality rate;
  2. Condition-specific changes in life expectancy, or condition-specific or age-specific mortality rates; and
  3. Self-reported level of health, functional status, and experiential status.

When reported, outcome metrics should present both the overall level of health of a population and the distribution of health among different geographic, economic and demographic groups in the population.