Study Finds Wasted Disposables in Neuro OR

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The problem of waste studied in one San Francisco hospital shows unused disposable medical supplies make up a considerable portion of the cost of the studied surgeries.

The Journal of Neurosurgery published a recent study of operating room waste in the University of San Francisco’s neurology OR. The study found that an average of $968 worth of disposable medical supplies are wasted per procedure, which amounts to $2.9 million per year.

The average total cost of those procedures ranged in price from $8,377 to $9,578 and about 13 percent of the total surgical cost was spent on unused or wasted supplies. Commonly wasted supplies ranged from low-cost items like sponges, gloves and sutures to higher-cost supplies like screws and sealants.

The study found that the amount of waste was most common in tumor procedures and least common in spinal cases. Meanwhile, surgeon’s experience levels did not correspond to more efficient use of supplies.

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