Building the Business Case for EBP and Research

Monday, 22 July 2013: 2:10 PM

Sharon Tucker, PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC
Department of Nursing Services and Patient Care, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, IA

Nurses have a responsibility to capture the business case and return on investment (ROI) from clinical and operational evidence-based care delivery. Few nurses understand how to build the business case for an EBP and research program, limited research adds to the challenge. Moreover, most healthcare agencies have limited resources to design EBP that includes ROI metrics. This paper discusses one approach for building the business case for EBP and research in a clinical setting. The approach requires strategic vision, clear goals that are aligned with institutional priorities, and a plan for reinvesting the ROI into further EBP and research efforts. By example, one program is targeting employee health and well-being to increase productivity and retention in the workforce and reduce employer healthcare costs. The ROI is based on programs including EBP and research initiatives, alignment with the institutional priorities and builds on research regarding health and safety risks for nurses and employer-based health and wellness programs.  EBP projects include safe-patient handling to prevent staff injury, and reducing burnout among burn nurses with costs savings and positive outcomes. Research initiatives include worksite interventions for improving nurses’ health, physical activity (PA), and productivity. Findings from two nurse samples (n=2247, n=1307) indicate overall suboptimal health and health practices and self-rated stress levels predicted health promotion behavior (r = -0.54, p < .001). Positive health outcomes resulted from PA and safe-handling programs integrated into the workflow of nurses. These projects are possible with continued program growth because of organizational commitment to essential resources such as nurse scientists, EBP and clinical experts, and support staff. Additionally, securing EBP and research grants avails resources to complete targeted projects/studies, and provides staff release time to reinvest into further program development. Data on quality outcomes and the ROI of projects help justify the need for resources.