October 4, 2023

Surgical scorecards help minimize costs without impacting outcomes

Editor's Note

This review published by the Journal of the American College of Surgeons shows that surgical scorecards, or cards that summarize information regarding the cost of surgical items and procedures along with comparisons to similar operations, have been shown to significantly reduce costs without impacting clinical outcomes when presented to surgeons prior to procedures. The review is titled, "Cost-Saving in the Operating Room: Scoping Review of Surgical Scorecards" and was published on October 3.

Thirty scorecard interventions were measured across 21 studies in this analysis. Some highlights include:

  • 16 of the 30 interventions showed surgical procedure cost reductions between 5% and 20%
  • the most common surgical subspecialties were orthopedic and general surgery, and the most common procedures were adult and pediatric laparoscopic appendectomies
  • for 11 studies, cost reduction was tied to using less expensive alternatives to high-cost items or wasting fewer supplies
  • no research connecting surgical scorecards to OR emissions data was found, even though ORs contribute around 50% of hospital waste and are much more energy-intensive than the rest of the hospital.

The researchers concluded that surgeons could benefit from data-driven feedback mechanisms that include carbon-related data in order to reduce costs and improve overall hospital efficiency.


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