Multimorbidity and its measurement

Health Policy. 2011 Nov;103(1):3-8. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2011.09.004. Epub 2011 Oct 2.


Multimorbidity is increasing in frequency. It can be quantitatively measured and is a major correlate of high use of health services resources of all types, especially over time. The ACG System for characterizing multimorbidity is the only widely used method that is based on combinations of different TYPES of diagnoses over time, rather than the presence or absence of particular conditions or numbers of conditions. It incorporates administrative data (as from claims forms or medical records) on all types of encounters and is not limited to diagnoses captured during hospitalizations or other places of encounter. It can be employed in any one or combination of analytic models, and can incorporate medication use if desired. It is being used in clinical care, management of health services resources, in health services research to control for degree of morbidity, and in understanding morbidity patterns over time. In addition to its research uses, it is being employed in many countries in various applications as a policy to better understand health needs of populations and tailor health services resources to health needs.

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Cost of Illness
  • Data Collection
  • Delivery of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Morbidity / trends
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data*