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March 17, 2022

Broad research moves the needle for health care

Faculty across the Broad College of Business strive to positively impact organizations and society through their scholarly work — and the health care industry is no exception.

Whether it helps to advance health care management, address business issues in the industry or protect patients, Broad research moves the needle.

Boosting efficiency in health care management

From eliminating waste to designing equitable distribution systems and care networks, health care managers face many complex business issues. Broad faculty are working to evaluate today’s challenges — which have been intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic — and offer solutions to boost efficiency.

Hospitals could save millions of dollars annually by reducing wasted supplies and unplanned costs. Research from Anand Nair, Eli Broad Professor in supply chain management, reveals that an average of $1,800 is wasted per operating room surgery, or nearly $28 million annually. The costs quickly add up when surgical supplies are packaged together but some are unused, or when additional supplies are suddenly needed during surgery. According to Nair, understanding supply waste is the first step to boosting efficiency. Next comes tracking these costs so that learning and better planning can happen on a large scale.

Outside of operating rooms, hospitals have faced increased financial pressure and produced higher volumes of medical waste overall due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nair is hoping these circumstances will trigger a much-needed reset in how health care organizations think about supply-related waste. He recommends hospitals consider ramping up recycling of nonhazardous waste, decontaminating and reusing supplies — based on new sterilization methods approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — and working with suppliers to rethink packaging of surgical supplies, all of which could save the industry billions.

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By: Chelsea Stein