Also found in: Acronyms.
Acronym for quality-adjusted life years, an adjustment that allows for prevalence of activity limitation.
quality adjusted life yearA parameter derived from a modification of standard life-table procedures, which is designed to take account of the quality of life as well as the duration of survival with a particular disease—e.g., cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis. QALY can also be used in assessing the outcome of healthcare procedures or services.
A measure of health that combines the duration of life and its degradation by disease or death. A year in perfect health is considered to have a QALY of 1.0; a year of life in a coma is assigned a lower QALY approaching zero.