Handling economic terms can sometimes be complicated for people outside the discipline of economics and business management. In this sense, nurses live outside of this field, even though the use and understanding of these terms is increasingly necessary.

Starting from this, we will try to approach those terms that are most frequently used.


Co-payment is the system created to co-finance health services. Co-payment means that the patient (user of the health system) and the financer (insurer, public body, etc.) share the costs of a given service in the portfolio of services.

Costs of health care

Health care costs are all those direct and indirect costs which are derived from health care and which, in their entirety, express the result in economic terms of the provision of a given service portfolio.


It is a difficult term to measure and understand, as appreciating this aspect and relating it to health and its outcomes can be complex. In itself, it means the comparison between the cost of a given health service and the expenses incurred in relation to it. In order to try to approach this concept accurately, everything has to start with the proper establishment of the objectives intended for a given process.

Budgetary impact

It refers to the costs of a health process when it incorporates each of the interventions, programmes or treatments. The objective is to complement the analysis of the cost-effectiveness study, in order to determine the need for resources in the future.

Quality Adjusted Life Year (QALY)

As necessary as it is controversial and debated.

It relates the life expectancy of a patient to how that person lives all these years after suffering a certain pathology. To do this, criteria must be established and we must define what we mean by quality of life. Thus, we must consider the physical, mental, social and emotional state within a scale that usually goes from 0 to 1, where 0 is equal to the death of the person and 1 is equal to a state of complete well-being with the absence of disabilities and limitations associated with health processes. In this way, it is possible to calculate the cost of a process with the gains, losses and appearance of limitations related to health.

Cost threshold per HVAC

It constitutes the maximum value or ceiling of a health process and determines whether it is profitable from a HVAC point of view. Some research published in Helath Economics puts this cost threshold between 20,000 and 24,000 euros per quality-adjusted life year.

Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs)

This concept refers to the sum of the years of life lost due to premature mortality and all the years lost due to a process of illness or disability. Some scientific studies refer to the limitations of this measurement and, relate it to the limitation and lack of consideration of a broader perspective related to the community and society we are referring to. The DALYs assign numerical weights to the different non-fatal consequences of the various diseases and the limitations associated with them.

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