Research Shows OR Waste-Prevention Strategies Add Up

By practice greenhealth staff on January 19, 2017

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, Department of Neurosurgery studied 58 neurosurgery procedures and found that each case wasted up to $968 in unused disposable surgical supplies, totaling $2.9 million per year (Zygourakis, Corinna C., et al., ÔÇťOperating room waste: disposable supply utilization in neurosurgical procedures.” Journal of Neurosurgery).

Although results varied widely, there were correlations among surgeon, case type and case category, while case length and the years a surgeon had been operating were not big indicators of waste at the end of the case. The researchers suggested the best approach to reduce waste was to scrutinize surgeon preference cards, provide education to surgeons and nurses about their specific wasted disposable supplies, and work with the supply chain to remove those unnecessary supplies from OR kits.

According to Practice Greenhealth, an OR kit review program can help facilities analyze the contents of surgical kits and determine if supplies are used at least 80 percent of the time. If supplies do not meet that threshold, items can be pulled out of the kit and kept on hand in case of need, but would not require disposal at the end of the case. This process saved Practice Greenhealth award-winning facilities more than $2.6 million in 2015, with 68 percent of award winners reporting a 100-percent success rate in kit review.

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