In accordance with House Bill 1272 – Concerning Health System Transparency, the UW School of Nursing will lead an interdisciplinary team of researchers and key stakeholders within Washington State (e.g., Washington Department of Health, hospital administrators, health care worker unions) to better understand the impact of staffing allocation and composition on patient outcomes across acute care settings in hospitals in Washington State.

A number of studies have demonstrated that lower staffing levels are associated with higher adverse patient outcomes. In comparison, few studies have assessed the impact of clinical care team composition on patient outcomes; however, evidence points to the structure and composition of healthcare teams impacting patient and organizational outcomes, including occurrence of adverse events and deficiencies in healthcare delivery.

The investigative team will assess available datasets and consider numerous factors of impacting health service delivery to explain the impact of the number, type, education, training, and experience of acute care hospital staffing personnel on patient mortality and patient outcomes. Additionally, this study will attempt to determine if staffing disparities exist across acute care hospitals in Washington State.

This study will be led by a multidisciplinary team, including Drs. Sarah Iribarren and Sarah Gimbel from the UW Center for Global Health Nursing; Dr. Abraham Flaxman from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Nami Kawakyu from the Department of Global Health, and Dr. Bianca Frogner from the School of Medicine.