Operating room (OR) costs account for 40% of hospital costs. Disposable supplies make up a portion of OR costs and are the only cost that is under control of the surgeon. There are little data to explain how surgeons select surgical supplies and what factors predict supply selection. Our goal with the current work was to assess variation in cost of disposable OR supplies at the surgeon level, hypothesizing high variability would be observed.
Cost data were reviewed for the most common procedures performed by five surgical divisions at a single children's hospital over a six-month period in 2021. For each procedure, the average disposable OR costs for each surgeon were tabulated and compared to the median supply cost for a given procedure at the group level.
For each procedure, the variation ranged from 149% (gastrostomy tube placement) to 758% (tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy). The median supply cost for an individual surgeon was not always above or below the median supply cost for that procedure for the group. No relationship was observed between whether the supply cost was above or below the median for a given case and a surgeon's case volume, years in practice, or operative length. There was also no relationship between surgeon volume and median cost, surgery length, and years of experience.
These data demonstrate variation in the cost of disposable OR supplies at the individual surgeon level at a single institution. This variation is not explained by case volume, years in practice, or operative length.
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Published online: August 04, 2022
Accepted: July 29, 2022
Received in revised form: July 13, 2022
Received: April 18, 2022
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