Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Nursing Leaders, Finance Professionals Should Improve Collaboration, Understanding

Nurses and finance professionals can align to improve finances at hospitals and health systems through a better understanding of their respective roles, a key nursing leader told attendees at the Healthcare Financial Management Association annual 2014 conference.

Pamela Thompson, CEO of the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE), suggested that understanding the importance of patient safety, and the changing science behind it, is one of the key steps in achieving alignment, Healthcare Finance News reports.

Nurses and other frontline providers deliver value to hospitals, but finance professionals often do not have a complete understanding of what they do, Thompson said in her remarks, noting that “the value of nursing is beyond the individual task performed … [it is] in the health outcomes achieved per dollar of cost spent.”

Patient safety is one area in particular that offers an opportunity to improve finances, particularly as the science surrounding patient care is becoming increasingly sophisticated. However, creating a safety culture takes time and resources and it can mean facing up to fears that reporting errors will lead to repercussions and retaliation, Thompson said.

“We have to convey the message that every time we reduce harm, we reduce costs,” Thompson said. “But we still need to work together to better determine the cost of allowing harm to occur. How do we measure the total patient harm rate per discharge?”

Ultimately financing and nursing professionals need to work collaboratively on questions such as these for the benefit of hospitals and patients, Thompson said. “Our commitments are very similar, we just articulate them differently. We have to align our goals, understand the interfaces and realize where coordination is essential.”

AONE houses the national program office of the RWJF Academic Progression in Nursing program.

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