Concerns from surgeons and nurses about the quality of our instruments forced us to determine the root cause of the issue. First, we had to find out if it was related to the tools simply aging out or if the sheer volume of instruments that needed to be reprocessed on a daily basis impeded our staff’s ability to handle and care for them properly — or both. Furthermore, given the high variety of procedures performed in our facility and the preferences of numerous physicians as to what instruments should be in the sets, reaching a consensus was difficult.
After deciding to reduce the number of instruments in our trays and refresh the ones that remained, we wound up removing nearly 10,350 tools from 40 high-volume trays. Eliminating rarely used items instead of paying to maintain or replace them saved our facility $530,000. We project that not having to reprocess the little-used instruments that were removed from the trays will save nearly 800 hours of staff time a year, which equates to an annual savings of about $10,600. We also decreased the amount of space needed to store sterilized trays. Here are the steps we took to realize those meaningful results.