This Health Metric Could Change Chronic Disease Treatment 2023


The WHO has long tracked acute sickness and fatalities as indices of global human health. Following these measurements helps populations, but it only addresses disease. Health has several aspects.

Human functioning, a secret third choice, switches attention from death and disease to daily life and how each individual may live their best life.

Swiss researchers from the University of Lucerne released a study in Frontiers in Science on May 31 explaining how human functioning may be the missing x-factor in public health.

Human functioning?

Researchers describe human functioning as the junction of talents and the environment. It raises issues about someone’s physique, tools, and surroundings. Is a person’s environment accessible to the tools they need to function?

Spinal cord injuries can prevent walking. Electric wheelchairs can assist this individual move. This approach considers the surroundings when restoring mobility.

If their surroundings don’t accommodate electric wheelchairs, this person’s functionality is hampered by circumstances unrelated to their health and ability. A setting that makes it hard to utilize a wheelchair or hearing aid harms a person.

The authors claim that human functioning is essential to well-being, which is often confused with physical health. It omits how numerous systems interact.

“In healthcare, the typical definition of health is always physical health, but functioning shows that very often what matters to people is what they can do with their health,” explains co-author Sara Rubinelli, a University of Lucerne health sciences professor. She thinks the focus shifts from traits to what they facilitate.

What Inspired This?

Accessibility isn’t new, but Rubinelli claims this formal definition of human functioning comes from the WHO’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF).

The paper’s co-author, Queen’s University ethical philosophy professor emeritus Jerome Bickenbock, developed the ICF in 2002.

This Changes Healthcare?

Rubinelli argues adding functionality creates a unified healthcare vocabulary. This framework aims to integrate a fragmented healthcare system around a patient-centered objective.

Thus, health goes beyond cholesterol readings and eyesight scores to include talents and experiences.

“With functioning, you ask, ‘What would you like to do? Your goal? She argues healthcare is about more than treating disease and symptoms.

Human functioning can help achieve the UN’s third Sustainable Development Goal, health and well-being. Rubinelli argues good human functioning can lead to human flourishing.

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