NINR-Funded Study to Map Effects of Organizational Change on Patient Outcomes

Improving healthcare quality and safety to create better outcomes and greater value for patients and communities is a priority in today’s hospitals, nursing homes and home health agencies. A new study from Penn Nursing will deeply explore the impact of change in nursing factors on patient outcomes, with the intent to inform patient care policy in healthcare organizations.

Linda Aiken, the Claire M. Fagin Leadership Professor in Nursing, Professor of Sociology,  Director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research and Senior Fellow of the Leonard Davis Institute has received funding of close to $3 million from the National Institutes of Nursing Research (NINR) for her study “Panel Study of Effects of Changes in Nursing on Patient Outcomes.” Supplemental funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Rita and Alex Hillman Foundation bring the funding to close to $4 million.

The goal of the study is to determine high value investments in nursing that hold promise for substantially improving patient outcomes and reducing costs of care. The study includes more than 600 hospitals and hundreds of nursing homes and home care agencies in California, Florida, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and will examine over time the impact of changes in nursing resources and patient outcomes before and after the national economic downturn and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

“The great strength of the application is that in creating a panel of organizational observations, we can see where change has occurred and why,” says Dr. Aiken.

The study will estimate the effects of organizational-level changes on outcomes for patients including minorities and those with chronic illnesses, and determine whether lesser improvement in nursing resources in minority-serving hospitals has widened the disparity in outcomes between white and minority patients. It will also determine the effects of nursing factors in nursing home and home health agency patient outcomes while accounting for variation in patient clinical severity and complexity.

Dr. Aiken’s co-investigators in the study are Matthew McHugh, Douglas Sloane, Ann Kutney-Lee, Olga Jarrin, Herbert Smith and Jeannie Cimiotti.

Dr. Aiken conducts research on the healthcare workforce and quality of healthcare in the United States and globally. Dr. Aiken leads the International Hospital Outcomes Consortium studying the impact of nursing on patient outcomes in 30 countries and co-directs RN4CAST, a European Union funded study of nurse workforce and quality of care in 12 European countries, China, and South Africa.

Dr. Aiken is a former President of the American Academy of Nursing, Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing, a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

Research reported in this press release was supported by the National Institutes of Nursing Research of the National Institutes of Health under award number R01NR014855. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent official views of the National Institutes of Health.

About the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

Penn Nursing, a world-recognized leader in advancing nursing education, prepares students for trends in nursing and interdisciplinary care by offering a number of excellent resources and experiences not found at most other schools including: a state-of-the-art simulation center featuring high-fidelity mannequins, student research opportunities across all levels of scholarship, one of the first PACE – Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly – practices owned and operated by a School of Nursing, classrooms with the latest hospital-based electronic medical records (EMR) technology, and rigorous clinical experiences with prestigious hospital partners. Penn Nursing’s faculty include some of the top researchers in the world who collectively rank near the top of all schools of nursing receiving federal funding.

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