Cost-Utility Analysis: A Method of Quantifying the Value of Registered Nurses

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Cost-utility analysis is one method of determining the cost effectiveness of nursing interventions. It is heralded by the World Health Organization as the measure to determine allocation of resources. This method of measurement includes calculation of both the cost of quality-adjusted life years (QALY) and the cost of disability-adjusted life years (DALY). The purpose of this article is to present cost-utility analysis as a relevant measure for describing the value of registered nurses. First the article will present a short overview of cost effectiveness, along with a discussion of two cost-effectiveness measures, cost-effective analysis and cost-utility analysis. Then the measurement of quality-adjusted life years and disability-adjusted life years will be presented. The article will conclude by challenging nurses to develop cost-utility analyses into a meaningful and useful methodology that can provide nursing with a process to measure the economic outcomes of our nursing interventions.