Cost Awareness of Common Supplies Is Severely Impaired Among All Members of the Surgical Team

Rebecca Sorber, Geoff Dougherty, Damian Stobierski, Christina Kang, Caitlin W. Hicks, Ying Wei Lum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Increased health care spending concerns have generated interest in reducing operating room (OR) costs, but the cost awareness of the surgical team selecting intraoperative supplies remains unclear. This work characterizes knowledge of supply cost among surgeons and OR staff in a large academic hospital and seeks to examine the role of experience and training with regards to cost insight. Methods: This work is a cross-sectional study of surgeons, trainees, nurses, and surgical technicians (n = 372) across all surgical specialties at a large academic hospital. Participants completed a survey reporting frequency of use and estimated cost for 11 common surgical supplies as well as opinions on access to cost information in the OR. Cost estimation error was expressed as the ratio of estimated-to-actual cost, and groups were compared with one-way analysis of variance and chi-squared testing. Spearman correlation (ρ) was used to describe the relationship between monotonic variables. Results: Overestimation error was universal and ranged widely (3.80-49.79). There was no significant difference in estimation accuracy when stratified by role or years of experience. Less expensive items had higher rates of estimation error than more expensive items (P < 0.001), and a moderately strong relationship was found between decreased item cost and increased estimation error (ρ: 0.49). The overwhelming majority (91%) of respondents expressed a desire to learn more about supply pricing. Conclusions: Price knowledge of common supplies is globally impaired for entire surgical team but coexists with a strong desire to augment cost awareness. Improved access to cost information has a high potential to inform surgical decision-making and decrease OR waste.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-286
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Jul 2020


  • Cost awareness
  • Cost containment
  • Intraoperative supply cost
  • Surgical cost
  • Surgical supply cost

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Cost Awareness of Common Supplies Is Severely Impaired Among All Members of the Surgical Team'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this