Surgical Tray Rationalization (STR) consists of a systematic reduction in the quantity of surgical instruments to perform specific procedures without compromising patient safety, while reducing losses in the sterilization and assembly of trays. STR is one example of initiatives to improve process performance that have been widely reported in industrial settings, but only recently have gained popularity in healthcare organizations.
We conduct a scoping review of the literature aiming at identifying and mapping available evidence on the topic of surgical tray management. Five methodological stages are implemented and reported; they are: identifying research questions, identifying relevant studies, study selection, charting the data, and collating, summarizing and reporting the results.
We reviewed forty-eight articles on STR, which were grouped according to their main proposed approaches: expert analysis, lean practices, and mathematical programming. We identify the most frequently used techniques within each approach and point to their potential contributions to operational and economic dimensions of STR. We also consolidate our findings proposing a roadmap to STR, with four generic steps (prepare, rationalize, implement, and consolidate) and recommended associated techniques.
To the best of our knowledge, ours is the first study that reviews and systematizes the existing literature on the subject of STR. Our study closes with the proposition of directions for future research, which are presented as nine research questions associated with the four generic steps proposed in the STR roadmap.