In our disposable culture, it is unsurprising that the bleed of this trend into healthcare has gone largely unchecked.
Operating rooms now use scads of throwaway equipment, saving sterilizing time and shaving off some intra-operative minutes by using devices that are slightly more specialized for components of the procedure.
Surgeons, nurses, and patients are all unaware of the cost. In fact, "Surgical residents and staff have a generally poor knowledge of the cost of common consumable products used in the operating room," according to a recent study in Laryngoscope by Canadian otolaryngologists.
Tom Blackwell of the National Post highlighted the issue and discovered some of the simple changes that administrators and surgeons could make to save costs without significantly impacting operation times. These efforts would also reduce landfill waste, something not emphasized in the article, but a very important consideration for the long term sustainability of our health care system.
See the video and article: Showing surgeons ‘massive’ cost of disposable supplies leads to big savings for hospitals.