Development of a Framework for Addressing Skin Biopsy Tray Waste in Dermatology Clinics: A Quality Improvement Study. JAMA dermatology Wolstencroft, P. W., Zacher, N. C., Scotellaro, K., Centkowski, S., Kwong, B. Y. 2023


The US health care system generates substantial global waste. Skin biopsies are frequently performed by dermatologists and represent a practical and scalable opportunity for waste reduction interventions in dermatology clinics.To develop and implement a systematic framework for decreasing skin biopsy tray waste in dermatology clinics.This quality improvement study was conducted at 4 outpatient clinic sites within a single institution between October 2021 and April 2022. The clinic site with the greatest skin biopsy tray waste production was selected for intervention. Waste audits before and after the intervention quantified the number of wasted supplies per skin biopsy tray in dermatology clinics. The participants were dermatology residents, faculty, nurses, medical assistants, and clinic managers.Provision of educational materials about climate change and health care and standardizing biopsy tray setup to decrease wasted supplies.Quantity of wasted skin biopsy tray supplies (gauze squares, alcohol pads, cotton swabs, and adhesive bandages) before and after interventions.In waste audits in 4 outpatient dermatology clinics (comprising 98 skin biopsy trays), prior to intervention, 100% of skin biopsy trays had more than 2 wasted supplies within targeted outpatient dermatology clinics at the Stanford Cancer Institute with a mean (SD) of 10.1 (3.4) wasted items per biopsy tray. Following the quality improvement-based interventions, only 16% of skin biopsy trays had more than 2 wasted supplies and the mean (SD) number of wasted supplies per tray decreased to 1.6 (1.3).Results of this quality improvement study suggest that through collaboration with all members of the clinical team including physicians, medical assistants, nurses, and clinic managers, skin biopsy tray setup modifications may be associated with reduced waste in outpatient dermatology clinics. This study presents a framework that accounts for different factors in the production of waste in individual clinic settings, and thus can be adapted within additional dermatology clinics.

View details for DOI 10.1001/jamadermatol.2023.0511

View details for PubMedID 36930161