Purpose: To describe the development, testing, modification, and results of the Quality Cost Model of Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs) Transitional Care on patient outcomes and health care costs in the United States over 22 years, and to delineate what has been learned for nursing education, practice, and further research.
Organizing Construct: The Quality Cost Model of APN Transitional Care.
Methods: Review of published results of seven randomized clinical trials with very low birth-weight (VLBW) infants; women with unplanned cesarean births, high risk pregnancies, and hysterectomy surgery; elders with cardiac medical and surgical diagnoses and common diagnostic related groups (DRGs); and women with high risk pregnancies in which half of physician prenatal care was substituted with APN care. Ongoing work with the model is linking the process of APN care with the outcomes and costs of care.
Findings: APN intervention has consistently resulted in improved patient outcomes and reduced health care costs across groups. Groups with APN providers were rehospitalized for less time at less cost, reflecting early detection and intervention. Optimal number and timing of postdischarge home visits and telephone contacts by the APNs and patterns of rehospitalizations and acute care visits varied by group.
Conclusions: To keep people well over time, APNs must have depth of knowledge and excellent clinical and interpersonal skills that are the hallmark of specialist practice, an in-depth understanding of systems and how to work within them, and sufficient patient contact to effect positive outcomes at low cost.