July 17, 2012
The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) discovered that the cost of supplies discarded for 2 weeks due to overstocking in one bay was over $2,000. Their previous practice had been to throw out all supplies from any patient area flagged with an Antibiotic Resistance Organism indicator, upon the patient’s transfer out of the unit. This routine practice ensured that any contaminated supplies would be eliminated, and while positive from an infection control perspective, really made no sense from a waste perspective. It was felt that increased efficiencies could be achieved through a review of this practice.
The ICU team embarked on changing their practice, and thus created a Continuous Quality Improvement initiative. “The goal was to have no supplies left on the nurse server when a patient is transferred, which would lead to minimal waste,” said MaryBeth Billick, Coordinator, Medical –Surgical ICU. “From start to finish, this project was driven by front line staff.”
“This project has led to a cost-saving strategy for the ICU and a reduction of waste for the organization,” said Mary Kroh, Coordinator, Cardiac Surgery Recovery Unit. “The project results have encouraged more dialogue around how can ICU be more environmentally conscientious and ensure minimal waste in the unit. We don’t consider this to be the end of our cost-saving work. It is just the beginning!”