Researchers measure the cost-effectiveness of disease-prevention strategies in terms of dollars spent per "quality-adjusted life year," or QALY, gained as a result of putting the strategy into effect. A year of good health is one QALY. The lower the amount per QALY, the more cost-effective the intervention is. Some interventions lower the total cost to the health-care system, effectively saving money.
SOURCE: New England Journal of Medicine (Feb. 14) | IMAGE: Jupiter Images | GRAPHIC: The Washington Post - April 8, 2008