Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQL)

What is health-related quality of life (HRQL)?

Health-related quality of life (HRQL) is the perceived physical or mental health of an individual or group over time and focuses on how someone’s health affects their ability to live a fulfilling life.

HRQL has different variations, including individual and community levels.

The individual HRQL includes the patient’s physical and mental health perceptions and their correlates (e.g., functional status, health risks and conditions, socioeconomic status, and social support). For those with chronic health conditions, HRQL includes how their disease and treatment affect disability and everyday living.

On the community level, HRQL includes policies, resources, conditions, and practices that influence a particular population’s perceptions and functional status.

A common way to assess and monitor HRQL is through patient-centered outcome questionnaires.

Why is health-related quality of life (HRQL) important for healthcare?

Health-related quality of life (HRQL) allows health agencies to address broader areas of public health policy and, as such, HRQL questions have become an important part of public health surveillance.

Furthermore, HRQL helps indicate unmet needs and intervention outcomes, allowing HRQL to signify areas needing addressing.

Measuring HRQL also helps to determine the burden of preventable diseases, disabilities, and injuries while also providing valuable information regarding the relationship between HRQL and risk factors. Analyzing HRQL helps identify vulnerable populations and can guide interventions to help these populations improve their situations.