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Disability Weights Measurement for 17 Diseases in Japan: A Survey Based on Medical Professionals

PIAO, Xiangdan and TSUGAWA, Shuichi and TAKEMURA, Yukie and ICHIKAWA, Naoko and KIDA, Ryohei and KUNIE, Keiko and MANAGI, Shunsuke (2021): Disability Weights Measurement for 17 Diseases in Japan: A Survey Based on Medical Professionals. Published in:


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When judging a population’s health to determine disability-adjusted life years, disability weight is a tool for measuring the severity of disability caused by a disease. However, previous studies have pointed out that surveys targeting ordinary citizens produce unclear disability weight values. Therefore, in an attempt to obtain clearer estimations, we conduct a paper-based questionnaire survey of medical professionals—nurses with over ten years of experience—believed to have extensive knowledge of diseases and experience in patient care. We find that disability weight estimations based on the survey of medical professionals presents higher values than those based on a survey of ordinary citizens using the same estimation approach, especially for non-terminal-stage diseases. This suggests that medical-professionals-based surveys may correct the underestimated disability weights of non-terminal diseases (e.g., early stage of cancers and mellitus) found through ordinary-citizens-based surveys. Moreover, we illustrate that depressive disorder and early-stage cancers have almost the same health loss since their disability weights are similar. While regulating policy, it is recommended that more attention be paid to non-terminal diseases and depression.

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