Part One of this three-part series explained the importance of making a business case for nursing. This post presents the basics of writing a business plan to fund an improvement in patient care. Multiple readmissions of patients discharged with congestive heart failure (CHF) convince a nurse to form a health care team. The team decides to prepare a business plan for a telephone monitoring program.
WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP IN WRITING A BUSINESS PLAN?
A business plan requires a clear description of the project. The team recommends increasing the staffing in the Nurse Case Manager Department. The added staff will ensure that all patients with CHF are contacted at least weekly for their first 60 days after discharge. The team estimates that two part-time nurses working for 20 hours per week can cover the patient workload. The team provides evidence for the effectiveness of telephone monitoring. This description with support from the evidence helps administrators understand the project’s importance.
WHAT ABOUT COSTS AND PROFITABILITY?
Another essential step in a business plan is preparing a budget, usually estimated for the first one or two years of the project. It is helpful to report any project resources that are already available. For example, office space and supplies are already available in the Nurse Case Manager Department. The team explains in the business plan that this reduces the overall cost of the project.
The team must think through project expenses, such as the annual hourly wages for the two part-time nurses. In addition, any start-up costs such as office furnishings and patient monitoring devices should be included. Project costs should be clearly reported and explained in the business plan.
The team then compares the annual costs to the annual savings from CHF telephone monitoring. Improved follow-up care, including medication adherence, can generate considerable savings for this costly disorder. The estimated savings help convince hospital administrators to support this business plan as a profitable venture.
Economics and Financial Management for Nurses and Nurse Leaders, Second Edition has more information for nurses who want to write successful business plans. The book provides sample business plans and additional guidance on making a business case. Nurses can learn to speak the language of finance, and get the resources they need to improve health care.