Surgical procedures account for 50% of hospital revenue and ∼60% of operating costs. On average, <20% of surgical instruments will be used during a case, and the expense for resterilization and assembly of instrument trays ranges from $0.51 to $3.01 per instrument. Given the complexity of the surgical service supply chain, physician preferences, and variation of procedures, a reduction of surgical cost has been extremely difficult and often ill-defined. A data-driven approach to instrument tray optimization has implications for efficiency and cost savings in sterile processing, including reductions in tray assembly time and instrument repurchase, repair, and avoidable depreciation.

During a 3-month period, vascular surgery cases were monitored using a cloud-based technology product (OpFlow, Operative Flow Technologies, Raleigh, NC) as a part of a hospital-wide project. Given the diversity of the cases evaluated, we focused on two main vascular surgery trays: vascular and aortic. An assessment was performed to evaluate the exact instruments used by the operating surgeons across a variety of cases. The vascular tray contained 131 instruments and was used for the vast majority of vascular cases, and the aortic tray contained 152 instruments. Actual instrument usage data were collected, a review and analysis performed, and the trays optimized.

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