Are there oyster forks in your instrument trays?

Case Medical Slide 5

Are there oyster forks in your instrument trays?

Formal place setting with plates, forks, knives, spoonsConsider the formal dinner setting in the adjacent image. It includes every fork, knife, spoon, glass, dish and bowl that could possibly be needed for any type of dinner.

But in reality, how often is a specialized instrument like the oyster fork on the far right really used? On the one hand, if someone unexpectedly bursts through your door with a full bag of shucked blue points, you can dig in without hesitation. On the other hand, it is almost never used and in the very rare cases when you do need it, you can simply get one from the drawer.

So, why discuss utensil utilization in a medical device blog?

Because, to anyone familiar with surgical instrument trays, the situation should sound pretty familiar. Although only a fraction of the instruments in a surgical tray are ever actually used, the full “place setting” is always set out and afterward everything needs to be processed.

In a recent blog post on instrument utilization, a pediatric surgeon estimated that he used only 14% of the instruments in his surgical pans. Assuming that all of his partners had the same utilization rate, he estimated that in his situation 1,800,000 instruments per year would need to be reprocessed but only 250,000 actually touched the patient.

customized surgical instrument traysThe problem arises from the fact that surgical sets are outfitted for a generic version of a given procedure and include all of the instrument preferences that any surgeon on staff might use. In reality, only one surgeon is doing the surgery and all of the instruments that he/she does not use effectively become the “oyster forks” of the instrument tray.

Case Medical improves instrument utilization by creating sets that are customized and organized based on the most necessary and frequently used items. Extra instruments are configured separately yet kept readily available for unexpected situations. The result is more efficient processing and lower wear and tear over time.

For more information on how Case Medical can help your facility create efficiencies, reduce inventory, and improve ROI, please contact us today at 888-227-CASE (2273).