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Tuesday November 10, 2020  |  Erin Glanz, Director, Perioperative Product Management at MEDHOST, (RN, MSN, CNOR, NE-BC)

Reducing Product and Operational Waste - Electronic Preference Cards

Reducing Product Operational Waste Preference Card EHR

Regulations like the Affordable Care Act and declining reimbursements have challenged hospitals to continuously drive hospitals to reevaluate their operating costs and search for different methods to lower daily costs without impacting the quality of care.

One of the areas in the hospital that can contribute significantly to this waste is the Operating Room. The financial implications of waste in the operating room include direct and indirect costs. According to the American College of Surgeons it is estimated that at least two million pounds of supplies with a potential value of $15 million are wasted every year in the surgical setting.1 This dollar figure does not include the cost for ordering, stocking the items, Operating Room (OR) staff pulling the items, and preparing for the case. Research by Zygourakis et al., (2019) found that the report cost of unused supplies wasted after a procedure ranged from $230-$810 at a rate of 13.1 percent of the total surgical supply cost for 58 neurosurgical procedures.2

Preference card management is a critical component of controlling cost and improving the efficiency in the Operating Room. It is estimated that nurses spend 20-50 percent of their time searching for, moving, and sorting surgical supplies (Lefteroff, 2017) this can result in case delays, decreased physician satisfaction, and impact patient safety.3

Facilities can decrease supply waste, improve efficiency in preparing for cases, and improve physician satisfaction with a right perioperative solution that offers an optimal Preference Card Management component. An ideal solution should have features that help reduce cost strategies leveraging technology. The pace in the OR would demand that Electronic Preference Cards are able to be updated with changes reflected immediately. It is also critical that your solution has the materials management module that provides alerts and updates for any items that have been deactivated or are unavailable. Preference cards should be linked directly to surgical case allowing the correct card and items to be available and also enable documentation of supplies on the case and billing.

MEDHOST Perioperative Experience can help your facility save costs with electronic preference card management so you can benefit from decreased supply waste, and cost per case while improving physician satisfaction and efficiency in preparing for cases. Want to learn more, contact us at or call 1.800.383.6278.

1American College of Surgeons. (2014, October 27). An estimated two million pounds of unused medical supplies may be recoverable in US operating rooms each year. American College of Surgeons.

2Zygourakis, C. C., Yoon, S., Valencia, V., Boscardin, C., Moriates, C., Gonzales, R., & Lawton, M. T. (2017). Operating room waste: disposable supply utilization in neurosurgical procedures. Journal of neurosurgery, 126(2), 620–625.

3Lefteroff L. (2017). Efficient materials management. Design and operations advice for productive supply activity. Health facilities management, 30(3), 35–38.

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