Open Access Highly Accessed Review

The Health Utilities Index (HUI®): concepts, measurement properties and applications

John Horsman123, William Furlong123*, David Feeny14 and George Torrance1235

Author Affiliations

1 Health Utilities Inc., Dundas, ON, Canada

2 Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada

3 Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada

4 Institute of Health Economics and University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada

5 Innovus Research Inc., Burlington, ON, Canada

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Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2003, 1:54  doi:10.1186/1477-7525-1-54

Published: 16 October 2003


This is a review of the Health Utilities Index (HUI®) multi-attribute health-status classification systems, and single- and multi-attribute utility scoring systems. HUI refers to both HUI Mark 2 (HUI2) and HUI Mark 3 (HUI3) instruments. The classification systems provide compact but comprehensive frameworks within which to describe health status. The multi-attribute utility functions provide all the information required to calculate single-summary scores of health-related quality of life (HRQL) for each health state defined by the classification systems. The use of HUI in clinical studies for a wide variety of conditions in a large number of countries is illustrated. HUI provides comprehensive, reliable, responsive and valid measures of health status and HRQL for subjects in clinical studies. Utility scores of overall HRQL for patients are also used in cost-utility and cost-effectiveness analyses. Population norm data are available from numerous large general population surveys. The widespread use of HUI facilitates the interpretation of results and permits comparisons of disease and treatment outcomes, and comparisons of long-term sequelae at the local, national and international levels.

Health status; Health Utilities Index; HRQL; HUI; HUI2; HUI3; Multi-attribute; QALYs; Quality of life; Single-attribute; Utilities; Utility scores; Review paper