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Archive May 2016 XVII, No. 5

7 Creative Ways to Cut Your Case Costs

Smart, simple ideas that save my facility between $50,000 and $100,000 a year.

Thomas Durick

Thomas Durick, MD


search for cheaper supplies CONSTANT WATCH Never stop searching for cheaper supplies that don't compromise quality patient care.

I'm convinced most facility managers don't take the time to consider the not-so-obvious ways they could save money and eliminate wasteful spending. Sure, you might be thinking, I'll start looking for loose change in my spare time, right after the accreditation surveyor leaves, the surgeons stop griping and next month's staffing schedule is set. I'm an anesthesiologist and the medical director of a small surgery center, so I get that the amount of hats you wear outnumber the hours in a day, and the last person you want to hear from is someone who's threatening to make your to-do list even longer. But what if I told you that the following 7 creative solutions help save my facility between $50,000 and $100,000 a year. Do I have your attention now?

Eugene Zamora INSIDE INFORMATION Eugene Zamora, a surgical tech and materials manager at Bay Surgery Center in Oakland, keeps close watch on supply use in the OR.

Put a scrub tech in charge of supplies
If you don't have the time or patience to monitor supply usage in the OR, then you have no idea which items are actually being used during cases. You assume everyone has the supplies they need, but what you might not see is that the surgical team throws out half of the items contained in your procedure packs. Why are you paying for those items? And why isn't that kit customized? To save on supplies, you need input from someone who's in the OR on a daily basis. Why not make a trusted scrub tech your materials manager? No one is better positioned to know exactly which items are used during cases and which get routinely thrown away. That's the case at my facility, where surgical tech Eugene Zamora is also the materials manager in charge of tracking supplies, managing par levels and ordering. He assesses the contents of our custom packs on a monthly basis. Vendors make up the packs 2 to 3 months in advance, so it takes time for requested changes to reach the front line, but the constant reviews ensure changes are made as soon as possible and the packs only include essential supplies.

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