How HSM created the estimate and tool
The process of estimating the cost of untreated mental illness involved extensive secondary research and economic modeling. Secondary research identified peer-reviewed publications and public health care data that eventually were incorporated into the economic model such as:
- Prevalence of mental illnesses, e.g., major depression, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and bipolar disorder
- The percentage of untreated mental illness cases
- Costs including hospitalizations, outpatient care, nursing home/long-term care, absenteeism, presenteeism, criminal justice system expenses, social security disability, and social welfare administration
- Other outcomes that are more difficult to quantify, such as suicides, unemployment, and incarcerations.
The model was also formatted to maximize ease of use and navigability in a style that is familiar to today’s Web user. Moving from the introduction to user input screens to the model output (charts) feels more like viewing integrated Web pages than worksheets in an Excel-based interface. Hyperlinks available throughout the model allow users to move through different inputs and outputs with a single click, as with a Web site.
See for yourself
HSM used the model to write an Executive Summary report for HCFGKC. The organization used the model to produce separate “Fact Sheets” regarding the costs of untreated mental illness for Greater Kansas City and its surrounding counties in Kansas and Missouri. The Executive Summary, fact sheets, and the Excel model itself are available and free to use on their Web site at http://hcfgkc.org/costs-untreated-mental-illness.
The right firm for the job
HSM was awarded the project based on our past success with NCQA’s Quality Dividend Calculator (http://www.ncqacalculator.com/), PhRMA’s depression calculator, and others. HSM also authored an article in Quirk’s Marketing Research Review about creating quantitative ROI models (http://www.hsmgroup.com/uploads/9/4/1/6/9416961/roimodeling_quirksjune07.pdf).
Reactions to the report and the model have been extremely positive. Some of the foundation’s grantees have used it to build the case for mental health funding. Further, the HCFGKC has reported that business groups in the Kansas City area are considering the implications for how employers can deal with mental illness in the workplace. HSM has fielded only a couple of questions about the methodology – a tribute to the transparency built into the model’s assumptions and calculations. HSM recently spoke with a state representative from the National Alliance on Mental Illness about producing models that incorporate population and cost parameters for other states.
To learn how HSM could leverage this experience for your organization, contact HSM Research Director Brett Plummer, PhD, at 480-947-8078 extension 313, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.