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Research Shows That OR Waste Prevention Strategies Add Up

Researchers at the UCSF Department of Neurosurgery studied 58 neurosurgery procedures and found that these cases wasted an average of $653 in unused disposable surgical supplies. That added up to $968 per case or $2.9 million per year.

Although results varied widely, they found correlations between 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 was to scrutinize surgeon preference cards, provide education to surgeons and nurses about their specific wasted disposable supplies and work with supply chain to remove those unnecessary supplies from OR kits.

An OR Kit review program helps facilities analyze the contents of surgical kits and determine if supplies are used at least 80 percent of the time. If those supplies do not meet that threshold, then those items can be pulled out of the kit and kept on hand in case of need, but wouldn’t require disposal at the end of the case. This process saved Practice Greenhealth award-winning facilities over $2.6 million in 2015, with 68 percent of award winners reporting a 100 percent kit review program. A diverse stakeholder group, education and peer-to-peer communication around this strategy can result in huge savings for facilities.

Zygourakis, Corinna C et al. Operating room waste: disposable supply utilization in neurosurgical procedures. Journal of Neurosurgery. Published online May 6, 2016; DOI: 10.3171/2016.2.JNS152442Check out some of these Practice Greenhealth resources on OR Kit Review programs:

OR Kit Review Implementation Module

OR Kit Review at University of Minnesota, Fairview Case Study

A Team Approach to OR Kit Review at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (Greening the Or 2015 Symposium)

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