Archive July 2017 XVIII, No. 7

Ideas That Work: 90% Is the Magic Number to Optimize Procedure Packs

surgical specialty packs POWER PACK Surgical specialty packs that contain only items used in at least 90% of cases save time and money in the OR.

90% Is the Magic Number to Optimize Procedure Packs

Optimizing dedicated surgical packs can save time and money, but since different surgeons have different preferences, how do you decide which supplies to include and which to exclude?

We came up with a formula that's resulted in real cost savings. Our magic number is 90%. If items in a specialty pack are used by surgeons in at least 90% of cases, we have our vendor include them in our customized packs. But if items are being opened and ultimately thrown away more than 10% of the time, we tell our vendor to leave them out. We've found that it makes more sense to open lesser-used items separately for the surgeons who want them.

Once we implemented the new policy, we also updated our surgeon preference cards, so they always have all the items they want, whether they're in the dedicated pack or need to be brought in separately.

The benefits have been numerous:

  • We're able to turn rooms over faster, because we're opening far fewer extra items — in addition to the pack, usually only sutures, gloves and 1 or 2 instruments that a particular surgeon might prefer.
  • During cases, the circulator rarely has to fetch additional supplies, so traffic in and out of the OR is minimized, time is saved and the threat of infections is reduced.
  • We save money on supplies, because we're no longer paying for the items that too often ended up being thrown away. In fact, we calculated that in the first year after we implemented our "Leader of the Pack" policy, we saved more than $29,000.

Heather Burggraf, CST, AAS
Jaime Williams, CST
Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital
Greensboro, N.C.

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