Lean management, a systematic method of reducing waste in manufacturing, is an approach that has led to quality improvement and cost reduction in health systems. Utilization of single-use airway equipment, such as videolaryngoscope (VL) blades and supraglottic airways (SGAs) has helped reduce the risk of cross-contamination and the time and cost associated with reprocessing and sterilization.
We examined the efficiency of single-use VL blades and SGAs within our tertiary care health system. Purchasing data were reviewed and compared with device utilization within the electronic medical record to determine the amount of waste of disposable airway equipment. Direct observations (Gemba walks) were made in the operating rooms to assess device utilization. For SGAs, a diagnostic questionnaire was sent to providers regarding approaches to use.
We found the total cost of opened but unused VL blades equaled $29,267. For SGAs, we found that devices were often opened before use and that there is a 16.67% first-time failure rate for placement of SGAs.
Through education and organizing device setup, and streamlining communication, there is a possibility to reduce future waste.