Hospital Waste and Cost Prevention Potential of Reprocessing Medical Devices


Lichtnegger S1, Meissner M2, Paolini F3, Silas U4, Hafermann J3, Saunders R4
1ECOFIDES Consulting GmbH, Vienna, Austria, 2Austrian Institute of Ecology, Vienna, Austria, 3Coreva Scientific GmbH & Co. KG, Königswinter, Germany, 4Coreva Scientific GmbH & Co. KG, Königswinter, NW, Germany

Presentation Documents

OBJECTIVES: Surgery and related postoperative care are resource-intensive, generating large amounts of healthcare waste within a hospital. Single-use medical devices can exacerbate this problem. We assessed the waste and cost prevention potential of switching from a single-use to a multi-use intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) system from the US hospital payer’s perspective.

METHODS: Focusing on Cardinal Health’s Kendall SCD™ Express Sleeves, we compared hospitals´ waste generation and disposal costs when using the single-use (IPC9529) versus the multi-use (IPC9529R) system, which can be reprocessed up to 4 times. The analysis included packaging waste of the IPC devices and pre-components as well as material waste, losses, and reject within the primary production and the reprocessing. Waste generated during the production of the pre-components was not considered. Results are presented for 100-patients treated, assuming that 90% of waste is standard, non-hazardous hospital waste and the remaining 10% is contaminated, hazardous waste (contaminated products are not reprocessed). Waste disposal costs were taken from published literature and are presented in 2021 USD.

RESULTS: Multi-use saves 27.7 lbs (30%) of total waste compared to single-use. Of this, 4.6 lbs of waste were reduced in primary production or during reprocessing (no-hospital) and 23.1 lbs of hospital waste were prevented. Three studies were identified reporting on hospital waste disposal costs in the US, with the cost per ton having a median value of $146.13 (range $94.25; $7,843.53) for non-hazardous waste and $31,134.60 ($1,251.06; $61,018.14) for hazardous waste. Hospital costs for waste disposal were $130.69 for single-use and $11.49 for multi-use, a $119.20 (91%) saving. The lower and higher savings estimate were $5.47 and $292.07.

CONCLUSIONS: Reprocessing IPC sleeves has clear waste and cost prevention potential for hospitals. The environmental impact of reduced waste is also an important factor to consider in the conservation of finite natural resources.




Medical Technologies

Topic Subcategory

Medical Devices


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