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Hospital Sustainability: Reducing Operating Room Waste with Reusable Medical Supplies and Instruments

School & Deparment: 
  • Business & Management, Fox School of
Start Date: 
05/2016
Lead Investigators: 
Amy Lee Sheikh
Faculty Advisors: 
Lynne Andersson
Funding Source: 
GRASP
Description: 
Recent years have witnessed a profound interest in healthcare waste given its impact on costs and the environment. This paper examines the impacts of seven factors: quality of care, healthcare costs, liability (safety) concerns, organizational culture concerns, social and environmental concerns, space limitations, and operating room (OR) turnaround time on healthcare personnel perceptions which ultimately impact adoption decisions regarding reusable medical supplies and instruments versus counterpart disposable items in hospital ORs. The study objectives include identifying the relative importance of the seven factors and an assessment of healthcare personnel perceptions by participant gender, age, occupational area, and education level regarding the usage of disposable versus reusable medical supplies and instruments. A seventeen question web-based survey was sent to approximately 3250 hospital personnel in eight hospital systems in southeast Michigan and central Kentucky. An estimated response rate of 6.03 percent was received. Parametric statistics and nonparametric statistical analyses were used to assess responses. This study provides clear evidence with highly significant differences among the seven factors. This understanding is important if hospitals are to switch from disposable to equivalent reusable alternatives to lower healthcare costs and lessen environmental impacts. Survey results demonstrate higher respondent receptiveness for reusable instruments versus counterpart disposable instruments and for higher respondent receptiveness towards disposable supplies versus counterpart reusable supplies. Male, older, providers such as physicians, and more formally educated respondents indicated a statistically significant preference for reusable items.

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