Surgical Preference Cards


By: Ashwin Kulkarni

Published: January 5 , 2020

When surgical preference cards are accurate, procedures don’t just run smoothly – they run efficiently, saving providers millions in supply costs according to OR Management News. Yet when these cards are outdated – as is the case for many hospitals focused on revenue generation, not preference card management –  they are liabilities for physicians due to their inaccuracy and increased supply costs. Maintaining these cards can certainly be complex and time-consuming, but not doing so leads to unnecessary expenses for providers and compromised patient safety.

Accuracy Leads to Supply Savings

Two 2018 studies shed light on how streamlining surgeons’ supply lists leads to cost savings. In a publication in The American Journal of Surgery, a team of surgeons analyzed costs regarding laparoscopic cholecystectomies six months before and after surgeons began using standardized pick lists. After standardizing their supplies, the authors measured a 33% decrease in the costs of disposable items without affecting operating time or patient outcomes.

In an alternative study conducted in a pediatric setting and published in The Journal of Pediatric Urology, researchers at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto reduced the number of instruments required for pediatric hernia repairs from 96 in urology and 51 in surgery to 28 each without compromising care quality. Standardizing led to less time counting, cleaning and sterilizing instruments which likely translated to decreased costs, the study’s lead author Martin Koyle, MD, found.

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A Proven Preference Card Solution

Technology is now optimizing many practices within the OR, but it can also be used to improve the accuracy of surgical preference cards while helping maintain them. Above all, a digital preference card system will make sure that cards will be made accurately from the beginning and updated based on a physician’s unique preferences. In estimates, the OR Link system has shown to improve case picking, update cards more quickly, significantly reduce surgical waste, improve staff training and user satisfaction. Most importantly, these savings are made with a potential to improve patient safety through reduced operating time. For more information on how a digital preference card system could improve your OR, please reach out to us through our Contact Us page.

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