For example, patients in a general medical-surgical unit might have different nursing needs and quality outcomes than those in an intensive-care unit, and the staffing levels and skill mixes of the nurses might also have varying effects on things like pressure ulcers, patient falls and infections. ANA officials say their data—collected on 18 nursing measures—could give researchers a way to parse fine differences in how nursing affects outcomes.
The database was originally conceived by the ANA as a way for hospitals to compare their nursing practices and quality outcomes. Hospitals pay between $1,500 and $7,000 to participate in the database and receive quarterly reports showing how their quality measures stack up against their peers.
Over the years, a small but growing number of scientific researchers have made requests for information from the confidential data set. In order to expand that practice, the ANA has formed a new 15-member review board to evaluate research proposals based on NDNQI data, and added a section to its Web site to submit proposals online.
Applications will be screened to ensure that researchers have enough prior experience in managing large data sets, and that research questions are “phrased in a way that is consistent with NDNQI concepts” such as unit-level measurement, the center's Web site says.
Isis Montalvo, who is director of the ANA National Center for Nursing Quality and co-chair of the review board, declined to comment on how much researchers would have to pay to access the database, because the price structure would vary greatly depending on the hours of research required by the center's officials. The Web site says a small data extract including limited technical support would cost at least $2,000.
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