When it comes to the cost and quality of your care in the hospital, experience counts. That's according to a new study from researchers at Columbia University School of Nursing and Columbia Business School.
They say a review of more than 900,000 patient records in the Veterans Administration Health System showed that a one-year increase in the average tenure of registered nurses was associated with a 1.3 percent decrease in the length of hospital stays.
The researchers analyzed payroll records for each nurse and medical records for each patient to see how changes in nurse staffing impacted the length of stay for patients.
Because length of stay is increased by delays in delivery of care and errors in care delivery, a shorter stay indicates that the hospital provided better treatment. At the same time, a shorter stay also makes care more cost-effective.
The study found that RNs working overtime resulted in shorter stays than hours worked by nurses hired from staffing agencies.
The research was published in the current issue of the American Economics Journal: Applied Economics.