Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UC San Francisco Previously Published Works bannerUCSF

Defining the Costs of Reusable Flexible Ureteroscope Reprocessing Using Time-Driven Activity-Based Costing.



Careful decontamination and sterilization of reusable flexible ureteroscopes used in ureterorenoscopy cases prevent the spread of infectious pathogens to patients and technicians. However, inefficient reprocessing and unavailability of ureteroscopes sent out for repair can contribute to expensive operating room (OR) delays. Time-driven activity-based costing (TDABC) was applied to describe the time and costs involved in reprocessing.

Materials and methods

Direct observation and timing were performed for all steps in reprocessing of reusable flexible ureteroscopes following operative procedures. Estimated times needed for each step by which damaged ureteroscopes identified during reprocessing are sent for repair were characterized through interviews with purchasing analyst staff. Process maps were created for reprocessing and repair detailing individual step times and their variances. Cost data for labor and disposables used were applied to calculate per minute and average step costs.


Ten ureteroscopes were followed through reprocessing. Process mapping for ureteroscope reprocessing averaged 229.0 ± 74.4 minutes, whereas sending a ureteroscope for repair required an estimated 143 minutes per repair. Most steps demonstrated low variance between timed observations. Ureteroscope drying was the longest and highest variance step at 126.5 ± 55.7 minutes and was highly dependent on manual air flushing through the ureteroscope working channel and ureteroscope positioning in the drying cabinet. Total costs for reprocessing totaled $96.13 per episode, including the cost of labor and disposable items.


Utilizing TDABC delineates the full spectrum of costs associated with ureteroscope reprocessing and identifies areas for process improvement to drive value-based care. At our institution, ureteroscope drying was one clearly identified target area. Implementing training in ureteroscope drying technique could save up to 2 hours per reprocessing event, potentially preventing expensive OR delays.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View