How Operating Rooms Are Throwing Millions of Dollars Away Each Year

Disposable medical supplies are responsible for over 2,000 tons of physical waste per day, and they are making a huge impact on OR profits. A recent study by University of California, San Francisco noted that an average of nearly $1,000 of disposable medical supplies per procedure were wasted in their neurosurgical department. This equated to nearly $3 million in wasted supplies per year.

The kinds of supplies that were commonly wasted per the study included a mix of low-end items, like sponges and gloves, and high-end supplies, like screws and sealants. The study also found that waste varied greatly by surgeon, ranging from 1.9% of supplies wasted to 23.6% of supplies wasted.

This article found at Modern Healthcare by Maria Castellucci discusses the recent study by UCSF that was published in the Journal of Neurosurgery. She noted how working directly with surgeons to discuss the waste issue can drive better outcomes.

“Dr. John Toussaint, CEO of the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value, which advises healthcare executives about eliminating wasteful or inefficient processes, said presenting surgeons with their costs is a highly effective way to reduce waste. “Doctors are competitive so if there is somebody who can do a procedure at a higher quality and a lower cost than them, they’re going to try to get to that same level or better,” he said.

The academic center has also held meetings to educate nurses and surgeons about the degree of OR waste and cost of high-cost items. The goal is to help nurses and surgeons determine together which items will be needed before procedures.”

Read the entire article here: Hospital ORs may waste millions a year in disposable medical supplies

The waste issue in surgery suites seems to be common across all hospitals. Administrators can work together with the doctors, nurses and techs to help reduce the waste problem, and increase their department’s bottom line. All that is needed is access to the right data that highlights the problem clearly to the staff and a process to systematically reduce waste in the ORs.