Primary health care nurses are no longer simply employees who respond to immediate health needs as directed and determined by their employer. Nurses adapt to their environment and lead innovative models of care that respond to local needs. Nurse-led solutions can drive best practice however time needs to be invested by nurses in business modelling if they are to continue to innovate, broaden and work to their scope of practice and show leadership in addressing local population health and workforce needs.
What is business modelling?
Business modelling involves building a business case to:
- increase or expand nursing services
- meet population health needs including improved chronic disease management
- identify the costs and benefits of nurse led interventions
- provide evidence to support funding submissions through PHNs and/or other funding sources.
Why would nurses become involved in business modelling?
Business modelling allows nurses to gather and provide evidence for the need, costs and benefits of nursing models and nursing leadership in primary health care. Nurse business modelling involves identifying local population health needs, gaps in service delivery, workforce shortages and the need for preventative health and chronic disease management in order to reduce hospitalisations. By identifying local needs, nurses can explore nursing business solutions that may include innovative nursing models of care, nurse led clinics, nurse specialisation and expansion of the nursing workforce.
How do you undertake business modelling?
Nurse business modelling involves identifying a health need that needs to be addressed, the benefits of instituting primary health care nurse initiatives and the costs involved in implementing nursing models of care. Benefits may include the potential for improved population health outcomes, increased revenue flow to the health service through nursing activities and evidence of increased patient consultations, improved management and outcomes of chronic conditions.
In a nutshell, to undertake business modelling you need to:
- Identify the health need and gaps in service delivery
- Identify resources required to implement a nurse model of care
- Identify the benefits (for patients and the business) including:
- improved health outcomes
- increased patient consultations & recalls
- improved chronic disease management
- support for GPs to see more complex and urgent cases
- support for GPs to meet health service workforce shortages
- increased financial viability for the business with increased throughput of patients
- Identify the costs required for all resources (financial, staffing, consumables)
Nurses may not always be aware of their local population health needs and the opportunities available to them unless they have examined local population health data and identified the costs and benefits of nursing models and initiatives. Funding through PHNs, peak bodies, and health services themselves can be directed to increasing nursing services if evidence of the need, costs and benefits can be demonstrated.
Larter developed a Nurse Practitioner Candidate business model for a Regional Community Health Service, including a 5 year implementation plan to ascertain how best to meet the health needs of young people in the region. Through undertaking the business modelling, Larter was able to make recommendations that would best meet health needs as well as ensuring the nursing model is financially sustainable.
Larter also worked with a regional PHN to develop a business model and a two-year implementation plan to recruit a Nurse Practitioner into Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations to meet the health needs of local Aboriginal communities as well as meet identified workforce shortages in GP services in the region.
Larter brings expert knowledge, technical skills and experience to support health organisations to assess health need, secure financing, deliver programs and educate the health workforce. If you would like to discuss ways that business modelling or our consulting and education services might meet your business needs, please contact us.
Image: DIBP, CC BY-SA