For most hospitals, the O.R. is the department with the highest ability for revenue generation. Thus, many hospitals and administrators tend to focus on increasing the volume of cases in the O.R. The labor and delivery rooms and the O.R. can account for as much as 70% of hospital waste.

In 2015, a small study published in the Journal of Neurosurgery found that about $968 worth of O.R. supplies were wasted per procedure as part of the neurosurgical procedures performed at the center. They tracked unused and wasted supplies in 58 neurosurgical procedures and estimated that 13% of the total surgical cost was due to wasted or unused supplies. Sponges, gloves and sutures were among the most commonly wasted items.

O.R. waste is difficult to control because it can be hard to predict all the supplies needed for a procedure. Also, “medical waste” to many individuals tends to...

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