White papers are sometimes a good format to disseminate information from a research or consulting project. They are used to educate a target audience and often to advocate a certain position or solution. Some examples of HSM-developed white papers available in the public domain:
The Costs of Untreated Mental Illness in Greater Kansas City
Cost-of-illness studies inform policymakers and health care professionals about the magnitude of specific health problems and the cost to society. Often these studies quantify illnesses in terms of how much money is spent for treatment as well as monetizing side effects of illnesses, such as lost time at work. The HSM Group calculated the cost of untreated mental illness in the Kansas City metropolitan area for the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. The results were staggering: Untreated mental illness is costing Greater Kansas City about $624 million per year. The information is being used by the foundation to advocate for an increase in state funding for mental illness treatment. A modeling tool developed by HSM allows users to analyze their own data and assess specific local impacts. Click here to read the white paper.
Improving End-of-Life Care in California's Nursing Homes
There is substantial anecdotal evidence within the nursing home field that too few residents receive effective palliative care at the end of life. In response to this problem, the California HealthCare Foundation engaged HSM to study barriers to appropriate end-of-life palliative care in nursing homes, and potential approaches to reducing those barriers.
HSM organized focus groups to discuss end-of-life care with care providers and residents' families. It also engaged in a survey of facility policies and practices regarding end-of-life care and conducted interviews with experts in the field.
The HSM study explored a number of questions, including:
The study followed up on these questions by examining how the problems they highlight might be addressed and by whom. The issue brief, which summarizes the study's findings, is available here.
Improving Decision Support Tools for the Long-Term Care Consumer
The California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF) launched the CalNHS.org Web site in 2002 to help meet the growing consumer need for information and assistance in long-term care decision-making. The site provides comparative data on nursing facilities, home health agencies, and other long-term care services in California. Consumers can use the site to assess options and to compare specific facilities and services.
In 2007, CHCF partnered with Howard Degenholtz of the University of Pittsburgh, The HSM Group, and Sam Boonin Consulting to perform an extensive review of CalNHS.org and analogous sites. The purpose of the review was to better understand how consumers, referring professionals, and providers seek information regarding long-term care services, and thereby help CHCF and other site producers develop strategies for refining their sites.
This report summarizes the research project's findings and analysis, extrapolating lessons that can be applied by creators of online tools that seek to guide consumers and professionals regarding long term care information and options. The issue brief, which summarizes the study's findings, is available here.