Configuring Surgical Instrument Trays to Reduce Costs

31 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2014 Last revised: 23 Sep 2015

See all articles by Gregory Dobson

Gregory Dobson

University of Rochester - Simon Business School

Anthony Froix

United Memorial Medical Center

Abraham Seidmann

University of Rochester - Simon Business School

Vera Tilson

University of Rochester - Simon Business School

Date Written: August 31, 2015

Abstract

Most hospitals in the US provide and manage durable surgical instruments used in operating rooms. Instruments are customarily stored and delivered to operating rooms as trays (kits). The advantages of organizing instruments into custom trays have been discussed elsewhere. They include: reliability in providing the needed instrument, speed of delivery in an emergency situation, and tighter control over the inventory. Hospital materials managers and surgeons appear to weigh differently the various attributes of different tray configurations. Surgeons prefer trays with the minimum number of unneeded instruments, while materials managers want to limit the cost of inventory and the variety of trays. We propose a mathematical programming formulation to decide on the composition of trays to minimize the relevant costs. We show that the optimal configuration depends not only on physician instrument preferences but also on the actual operating rooms’ schedules. This implies that changing surgery schedules can have significant impact on how trays should be configured. Using real-world data we demonstrate that optimizing trays can result in significant cost savings for the hospital and increase surgeons’ satisfaction, based on the reduction of the “unneeded instruments.” We describe a column-generation algorithm and a heuristic algorithm for finding a low-cost trays configuration given surgeons’ preferences and surgical schedules. Our numerical experiments suggests that currently hospital materials managers overestimate the cost of tray variety and underestimate the cost of re-processing the extra instruments in a tray.

Keywords: Operating room efficiency, optimal surgical tray composition

Suggested Citation

Dobson, Gregory and Froix, Anthony and Seidmann, Abraham Avi and Tilson, Vera, Configuring Surgical Instrument Trays to Reduce Costs (August 31, 2015). Simon Business School Working Paper No. FR 15-05. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2524426 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2524426

Gregory Dobson

University of Rochester - Simon Business School ( email )

Carol Simon Hall 3-310
Rochester, NY 14627
United States
585-275-2670 (Phone)
585-442-6652 (Fax)

Anthony Froix

United Memorial Medical Center ( email )

127 North St
Batavia, NY 14020
United States

Abraham Avi Seidmann

University of Rochester - Simon Business School ( email )

Carol Simon Hall 3-333C
Rochester, NY 14627
United States
585-275-5694 (Phone)
585-275-9331 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ssb.rochester.edu/fac/Seidmannav/

Vera Tilson (Contact Author)

University of Rochester - Simon Business School ( email )

Rochester, NY 14627
United States

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