Unused surgical supplies cost UCSF neurosurgery an estimated $2.9M annually: 8 observations

Written by Megan Wood | September 12, 2016 | Print  | Email

University of California, San Francisco researchers discovered the medical center loses about $1,000 per procedure in unused medical supplies, according to Kaiser Health News.

Journal of Neurosurgery published the study, which included 58 neurosurgeries performed by 14 UCSF Medical Center surgeons. They analyzed the impact of wasted medical supplies on cost and environment.


Here are eight observations:


1. The study revealed a spinal procedure as one of the most wasteful procedures.


2. Researchers found no correlation between a surgeon's experience and the amount of wasted supplies.


3. Sponges, blue towels and gloves ranked as the most unused and discarded supplies.


4. A surgifoam ranked as the most expensive wasted supply, costing as much as $4,000.


5. The researchers estimated UCSF's neurosurgery department loses about $2.9 million a year in wasted supplies.


6. The study authors noted these wasted costs could instead go toward teaching and research opportunities.


7. The researchers suggested medical centers implement price transparency among surgeons, so they see how much their surgery costs compare to their colleagues' costs.


8. The study also recommended organizations review surgeons' preference cards, and remove any supplies deemed unnecessary.


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