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Optimizing perioperative services inventory to save time and reduce costs

Study in January 2022 issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety Thursday, January 06 2022

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(OAKBROOK TERRACE, Illinois, January 6, 2022) – Cost containment has become more important than ever in health care. Perioperative services are often scrutinized, as they consume more than 30% of hospital budgets.1 The procurement, processing and use of sterile surgical inventory are a major component of the perioperative care budget and have been recognized as an area of operational inefficiency.2,3  

A new study in the January 2022 issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality Patient Safety, “Inventory Optimization in the Perioperative Care Department Using Kotter’s Change Model,” used an established change model to effectively implement inventory optimization (IO) – driving improvements across inventory, efficiency and satisfaction metrics. 

Researchers at the University of Toronto optimized inventory across four high-volume surgical services using the steps in Kotter’s Change Model (KCM): create coalition, create vision for change, establish urgency, communicate the vision, empower broad-based action, generate short-term wins, consolidate gains and anchor change. The process evaluated inventory metrics, operational efficiency metrics and clinician satisfaction. 

Total inventory was reduced by 37.7%, with an average tray size reduction of 18%. This saved a total reprocessing time of 1,333 hours annually and labor costs of $39,995 annually. Depreciation cost savings totaled $64,320 annually. Case cancellation rates due to instrument-related errors decreased from 3.9 to 0.2%. Additionally, staff completely satisfied with inventory improved from 1.7% pre-optimization to 80% post-optimization. 

The study is the first to report successful implementation of KCM to facilitate change in the perioperative setting. 

“Through their timely study, [the study authors] prove yet again that not only can surgical staff enlist the proper buy-in and dedication needed to increase perioperative efficiency, they are also capable of organizing a standardized change process to implement the improvements in a manner that is reproducible and relatively predictable,” notes an accompanying editorial by James Farrelly, MD, MHS. 

Also featured in the January issue:

For more information, visit The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety website.  

1Ahmadi E, et al. Inventory management of surgical supplies and sterile instruments in hospitals: a literature review. Health Syst (Basingstoke). 2018 Jul 18;8:134–151.
2Waring JJ, Bishop S, et al. Lean healthcare: rhetoric, ritual and resistance. Soc Sci Med. 2010;71(7):1332–1340 Epub 2010 Jul 13. PMID: 20702013.
3Farrokhi FR, et al. Application of Lean methodology for improved quality and efficiency in operating room instrument availability. J Health Qual. 2015;37:277–286.

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Note for editors  
The article is “Inventory Optimization in the Perioperative Care Department Using Kotter’s Change Model” by Jay Toor, MD, MBA; Jin Tong Du, BMSc; Martin Koyle, MD, MBA, MSc; Aazad Abbas, BSc; Ajay Shah, MD; Garry Bassi, BScH; Dante Morra, MD, MBA; and Jesse Wolfstadt, MD, MSc. The article appears in The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, volume 48, number 1 (January 2022), published by Elsevier.  

The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety  
The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety (JQPS) is a peer-reviewed journal providing health care professionals with innovative thinking, strategies and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. JQPS is the official journal of The Joint Commission and Joint Commission Resources, Inc. Original case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or the new application of methodologies, research studies, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

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