Portland VA Medical Center | Waste Reduction Pays Off

Portland VA Medical Center (PAVMC) realized that many products were being taken from locked sterile supply cabinets and unintentionally wasted since, once removed, they could not be put back – even the unopened, unused supplies.  Some items were being recycled, but many were being placed in the trash or red bag waste streams due to risks related to infection control.  
Inspiration struck PAVMC’s Intensive Care Unit team when staff members realized how much waste and recycling was leaving just one patient room after discharge. A group of ICU nurses decided to re-examine the contents of their supply carts to identify extra or unnecessary supplies.  They looked at the old configuration and developed a sleeker, trimmed-down supply list and set up the cart drawers, resulting in easier stocking going forward.  
The results of this evaluation yielded a savings of $8 per patient, which equates to approximately $6,600 per month or nearly $80,000 annually.  This effort saw such significant results that it is being expanded from the ICU to other hospital units.  As these units begin restructuring their supply carts and eliminating the extra waste, the Portland VA Medical Center looks forward to continuing to increase its waste-related cost savings through the HHI Less Waste Challenge.