A pragmatic defence of health status measures.
A family of instruments has been developed over the last twenty five years in order to measure the individual's subjective view of his health. The instruments vary in how broadly they define health. A wide range of critiques have challenged both the validity of these measures and their uses. This paper argues that disproportionate attention has been given to one form of health status measure--the so-called utility-based measures. The ensuing controversies have distracted from the substantial progress achieved in the application of health status measures. This paper identifies the major areas of progress and argues that any serious critique needs to engage with this now sizeable body of applied knowledge.