An equity-Effectiveness framework linking health programs and healthy life expectancy

David Banham, John Lynch, Jon Karnon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


South Australia's Strategic Plan includes a target to improve the population's healthy life expectancy. A common question among health policy and service planners is: 'How do health programs and services in the community relate to healthy life expectancy?' In response, this paper outlines an effectiveness and equity framework (EEF) for evaluating health interventions in applied settings. Using the example of coronary heart disease (CHD) management in general practice in South Australia, the EEF: (1) applies an internally consistent approach to accounting for population healthy life expectancy at state and smaller geographic levels; (2) estimates average population health gains from health programs, and gains across different socioeconomic subgroups within the community; (3) conducts economic evaluation by equating health gains against health system costs in population subgroups; (4) summarises relevant information about candidate intervention programs within a multi-criteria performance matrix for presentation to decision makers; (5) reassesses outcomes (and processes) following the implementation of a program and iteratively adds to the relevant knowledge and evidence base. The EEF offers a practical approach to selecting and evaluating intervention programs. The challenge is to develop system culture and data capture methods clearly focussed on linking health system activities to population health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-319
Number of pages11
JournalAustralian Journal of Primary Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • DALY
  • cost effectiveness
  • health care
  • health equity
  • health inequalities
  • patient-reported outcome measures
  • quality indicators

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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