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Cost-effectiveness study
Increasing nurse staffing levels in cardiac surgery centres appears to be a cost effective patient safety intervention
  1. Patricia A Hickey
  1. Cardiovascular and Critical Care Services, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to Patricia A Hickey
    Bader 664, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA; patricia.hickey{at}

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Over the past decade there has been worldwide interest in the effect of nurse staffing on quantifiable patient outcomes. In numerous multi-centre studies of hospitalised adults, in-hospital mortality has been reported to be inversely associated with nurse staffing levels.1,,3 There are fewer published data establishing the trade-offs and associations between resources provided and quality of care. Policy makers interested in the cost, quality and effectiveness of healthcare will find guidance in this article.

Van den Heede and colleagues reported on their cost-effectiveness analysis from a hospital perspective of increased nurse staffing levels to the 75th percentile in Belgian general cardiac postoperative nursing units in the year 2003. They compared the costs of increased nurse …

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