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Health Care Providers Should Hire More Nurses To Save On Costs
Health care facilities, such as hospitals, need to streamline operational expenses, just like any other business. In a bid to minimize expenses, most administrators and managers hire a lean workforce to try and improve efficiency of operations. This may make sense in business, but in health care facilities, the opposite is true. On paper, hiring fewer nurses and staff may seem effective in cutting costs, however, having fewer nurses can actually be costlier than hiring additional nurses and support staff.
Studies have shown there is an 84% increase in the cost of care for patients who developed pneumonia while in the hospital. When fewer nurses are hired, they operate under immense pressure, which lowers their productivity. This, in turn, puts their patients at risk of complications such as developing pressure ulcers, which can cost up to $8.5 billion every year to manage. When patients have enough nurses to take care of them, they have better outcomes. Examples of this are the reductions in the rate of onsite infections and complications such as urinary tract infections (reduced by 25%), cardiac arrest (reduced by 7%-13%), hospital acquired pneumonia (reduced by 17%), and upper gastrointestinal bleeding (reduced by 17%).
To put this into perspective, hiring an additional registered nurse would contribute $9,900 annually to national productivity. The total savings attributed to hiring an additional registered nurse adds up to $60,000 annually as a result of reduced medical costs and improved national productivity. To learn why, checkout the following infographic created by the Adventist University of Health Sciences’ Online RN BSN program.
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TO SAVE COSTS HIRE MORE NURSES
Like other businesses, hospitals try to reduce costs. The path of least resistance can be cutting staff, specifically nurses. However, experts have long believed — and recent studies show — that increasing nursing staff not only saves lives but improves the cost effectiveness of care by shortening hospital stays and preempting expensive complications.
THE HIGH COST OF HAVING LOW NURSE STAFFING
- High rates of poor patient outcomes (pneumonia, shock, cardiac arrest, and urinary tract infection)
- 84 percent Cost of care increase for patients who developed pneumonia while in the hospital
- 30-day mortality and an increase in the likelihood of failure to rescue
- $8.5 billion pressure ulcers estimated cost per year
IMPROVING PATIENT OUTCOMES THROUGH HIRING MORE NURSES
REDUCTION IN RATES:
- Urinary tract infections 4% – 25%
- Upper gastrointestinal bleeding 3% – 17%
- Hospital-acquired pneumonia 6% – 17%
- Shock or cardiac arrest 7% – 13%
7 ADDITIONAL LIVES WOULD BE SAVED FOR EVERY 100 PATIENTS IF NURSE NUMBERS INCREASED FROM FOUR TO SIX PER BED
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
SAVING LIVES AND MONEY
- Adding 133,000 RNs to the hospital would save 5900 lives per year
- Increasing national productivity by $1.3 billion or about $9,900 per year per additional RN
- 3.6 million decrease in hospital days
- $6.1 billion estimated medical savings
EACH ADDITIONAL PATIENT CARE RN EMPLOYED WOULD GENERATE OVER $60,000 ANNUALLY IN REDUCED MEDICAL COSTS AND IMPROVED NATIONAL PRODUCTIVITY
GIVING HOSPITALS A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
- More than 6,700 in-hospital patient deaths could be avoided by increasing nursing staff
- Would create $7 billion economic value annually, based on medical savings and increased patient productivity
- The annual medical savings per RN:
- $7,400 from preventing nursing-sensitive adverse events
- $2,500 in professional services savings related to reduced length of stay
- $38,100 in hospital-related savings
RAISING THE PROPORTION OF RNs WITHOUT CHANGING LICENSED HOURS AT AN ESTIMATED COST OF $811 MILLION WOULD PRODUCE AN ESTIMATED SHORT-TERM SAVINGS OF $242 MILLION