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Research Letter
June 26, 2019

Surgeon Awareness of the Relative Costs of Common Surgical Instruments

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Surgery, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla
  • 2Department of Surgery, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
  • 3Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research, Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
  • 4Department of Surgery, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California
JAMA Surg. Published online June 26, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2019.1746

The operating room is a cost-dense environment, and disposable surgical instruments account for a large proportion of its costs.1 Because surgeons often have a choice of instruments to use, they play a critical role in managing supply costs. Previous research on surgeon cost knowledge has shown that surgeons are unskilled at estimating the price of surgical supplies.2 However, it is unclear whether surgeons can correctly differentiate the more expensive item of 2 surgical instruments, a task that more accurately reflects real-world decisions. Furthermore, cost report cards (CRCs) have been proposed as a passive mechanism for educating surgeons about surgical supplies to reduce spending.3 However, the association between CRCs and cost knowledge is unknown.

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