Reformulate surgical kits


Many hospitals and health systems have identified cost-saving and waste reduction opportunities by taking an in-depth look at the items found in the sterile surgical kits prepared for common procedures.

OR kit reformulation doesn’t need to mean a locked-in, pre-selected group of devices, implants or supplies in every kit. Instead, administrators, surgeons, and nurses are finding big waste reductions, by identifying kit items that routinely go unused during procedures, and then removing them from the preference card and pick list to avoid the unnecessary purchase and then disposal of those supplies.

University of Minnesota Medical Center Fairview reformulated OR kits which reduced their total waste by 5,332 pounds per year and led to more than $81,000 in cost savings.

Practice Greenhealth member hospitals have the greatest success at tackling OR kit reformulation by:

  • Clearly communicating goals with operating room professionals, including nurses, surgeons, technicians, anesthesiologists, and supply chain.
  • Starting small – picking one common procedure’s kits and tracking results.
  • Identifying disposable items that are always in kits and rarely used – a rule of thumb many hospitals follow is if an item is not used 80 percent of the time, pull it from the kit.
  • Creating a feedback mechanism so the OR team has an easy way to report back on what is working and what isn’t.
  • Collaborating with vendors to find substitutions or products that can be reused.

Practice Greenhealth resources help our members develop an individualized approach to reformulating OR kits. Our goal is to provide step-by-step resources that make it simpler for any hospital to design, implement, and measure the success of these efforts, without compromising the surgical team’s efficiency and effectiveness.

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