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decision making, health services needs and demand, nurse clinicians, organizational



  1. Bartlett Ellis, Rebecca J. PhD, RN
  2. Embree, Jennifer L. DNP, RN, NE-BC, CCNS
  3. Ellis, Kurt G BS


Purpose: The purpose of this article is to describe a business case framework that can guide clinical nurse specialists (CNS) in clinical intervention development.


Background: Increased emphasis on cost-effective interventions in healthcare requires skills in analyzing the need to make the business case, especially for resource-intensive interventions. This framework assists the CNS to anticipate resource use and then consider if the intervention makes good business sense.


Business Case Framework: We describe a business case framework that can assist the CNS to fully explore the problem and determine if developing an intervention is a good investment. We describe several analyses that facilitate making the business case to include the following: problem identification and alignment with strategic priorities, needs assessment, stakeholder analysis, market analysis, intervention implementation planning, financial analysis, and outcome evaluation. The findings from these analyses can be used to develop a formal proposal to present to hospital leaders in a position to make decisions. By aligning intervention planning with organizational priorities and engaging patients in the process, interventions will be more likely to be implemented in practice and produce robust outcomes.


Conclusion: The business case framework can be used to justify to organization decision makers the need to invest resources in new interventions that will make a difference for quality outcomes as well as the financial bottom line. This framework can be used to plan interventions that align with organizational strategic priorities, plan for associated costs and benefits, and outcome evaluation.


Implications for CNS Practice: Clinical nurse specialists are well positioned to lead clinical intervention projects that will improve the quality of patient care and be cost-effective. To do so requires skill development in making the business case.