Nurse practitioner-staffed clinic at Virginia Mason improves care and lowers costs for women with benign breast conditions

Health Aff (Millwood). 2013 Jan;32(1):20-6. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2012.0006.


The implementation of a breast clinic based on the use of an advanced registered nurse practitioner at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, Washington, substantially improved care timeliness and efficiency for women with symptomatic benign breast conditions. Women received their final benign diagnosis in an average of four rather than sixteen days, with fewer imaging studies and physician visits, when compared to a control group. Savings to the employer were estimated at $316 per woman, primarily from increased work productivity. Direct care costs decreased an estimated 19 percent, to $213 per woman. By decreasing both direct medical costs and indirect costs such as work absenteeism and presenteeism, the Virginia Mason Breast Clinic has created substantial savings for providers and employers while delivering care that patients rate highly. This model demonstrates the feasibility of achieving higher quality at lower cost through integrated care.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Diseases / diagnosis
  • Breast Diseases / economics*
  • Breast Diseases / nursing*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / economics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / nursing*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cost Savings
  • Delayed Diagnosis
  • Delivery of Health Care / economics
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / economics
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / organization & administration
  • Efficiency, Organizational / economics
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility / economics
  • Health Services Accessibility / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Nurse Practitioners / economics*
  • Nurse Practitioners / organization & administration*
  • Patient Satisfaction / economics
  • Practice Patterns, Nurses' / economics*
  • Practice Patterns, Nurses' / organization & administration*
  • Quality Improvement / economics*
  • Quality Improvement / organization & administration*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Washington