Saving Money and Reducing Waste With a Tailored Hand Surgery Kit

WashU Affiliated Authors: Katherine Velicki, Michelle Schultz, Christopher J Dy (Dept of Orthopaedic Surgery)


Background and objectives: There is growing interest in containing cost and decreasing waste in the operating room. As part of a quality improvement initiative, we redesigned the supply kit used for 2 common surgical procedures (carpal tunnel release and trigger finger release) performed under local anesthesia.

Methods: A hand surgeon, a medical student, and an operating room nurse examined each item that would be necessary for performing carpal tunnel release and trigger finger release. A new disposable supply kit was formulated on the basis of their recommendations and was implemented over a 7-month period. Cost savings and waste avoidance were calculated.

Results: The streamlined kit ($43.40) produced a 53% cost savings relative to the standard hand pack ($92.83) per case. The local pack (2.896 kg) was 41% lighter than the standard pack (4.938 kg), translating to significant waste avoidance. The local hand pack was used for 46 cases from September 2020 to April 2021, saving a total of $2246.78 and avoiding 94 kg of waste. There have been no noted interruptions in delivery of surgical care.

Conclusion: Our redesign of the local hand pack led to substantial cost savings and waste avoidance. We believe there are many opportunities for surgical teams to use similar strategies to decrease cost and environmental waste.

Citation or DOI: Velicki K, Schultz M, Dy CJ. Saving Money and Reducing Waste With a Tailored Hand Surgery Kit. Qual Manag Health Care. 2022 Jul 5. doi: 10.1097/QMH.0000000000000369. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35802894.