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Health Psychol. 1994 Nov;13(6):451-60.

The Ziggy theorem: toward an outcomes-focused health psychology.

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Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093-0622.


The purpose of health care is twofold: to make people live longer and to enhance quality of life in the years before death. These goals are consistent with a Ziggy cartoon that emphasized that the meaning of life was "doin' stuff." "Doin' stuff" requires being alive (survival) and having the capability to perform activities. These objectives are quantifiable and can be represented in indices that combine life expectancy with health-related quality of life. This article emphasizes patient-oriented outcomes as a focal point for health care. This outcomes orientation is referred to as the Ziggy theorem. Examples demonstrate that emphasis on patient-oriented outcomes may redirect conceptualizations of public health indicators and may change the way medical subspecialists make clinical decisions. Furthermore, the Ziggy Theorem may suggest new approaches to the allocation of public health resources.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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