A Financial Model Estimating the Value of Interprofessional Collaboration at a Large Academic Institution
Background: Clinician engagement in interprofessional teams is an effective strategy to improve care delivery. The IGNITE (Improving GME-Nursing Interprofessional Team Experiences) program engages residents, nurses, and other health professionals together in performance improvement activities at our large academic institution, and has resulted in improvements in quality of care. However, the financial value of enhanced interprofessional communication is difficult to quantify. We sought to understand the financial implications of expanding IGNITE to all adult Med-Surg units at our institution.
Methodology: Data from four active Med-Surg IGNITE teams (Neurology, Hematology-Oncology, General Surgery, and Medicine) was used. Each IGNITE service line was assigned to a representative unit for measure tracking. Three-month average pre-IGNITE and 2019 average post-IGNITE Length of Stay (LOS) and patient discharges/month were obtained for each unit. Patient-days were calculated as monthly patient discharges*LOS. Internal estimate of the average variable cost of last inpatient day was used to estimate daily cost savings, and internal estimate of the average daily revenue minus variable costs from a new Emergency Department admission was used to estimate additional revenue, in conjunction with the above metrics. The calculations assumed that average efficiency improvements on IGNITE Med-Surg units would be observed if IGNITE was expanded to the remaining Med-Surg units. Data was analyzed in Excel.
Results: Average pre-IGNITE LOS was 6.37 days on IGNITE Med-Surg units, vs. post-IGNITE LOS 6.06 days (4.9% decrease). Given average LOS on non-IGNITE units of 6.27 days, expected LOS if IGNITE was expanded was therefore 5.97 days. Expected patient-days/month was therefore 1,156 discharges/month (observed) *expected LOS, yielding 6,898 patient-days/month. Because actual patient-days/month was 7,244 for non-IGNITE units, a total of 7,244-6,898=346 patient-days was saved per month, or 4,152 patient-days saved per year. The estimates of additional daily revenue and daily cost savings were then added together and multiplied by patient-days saved to generate an estimated $9,234,048 per year that would be gained if the IGNITE program was expanded.
Conclusion: An expansion of the IGNITE program that enhances interprofessional communication can not only lead to improved quality of care, but also significant cost savings and additional revenue.
Implications: Interprofessional communication programs can be cost-efficient when implemented at larger scale, in addition to potential improvements to patient care.