Hospitals Could Save Billions By Improving Their Environmental Impact

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Hospitals Could Save Billions By Improving Their Environmental Impact

April 30th, 2014

Healthcare Daily reports “First, do no harm” has long been the mantra of healthcare professionals who focus on the safety and well-being of their patients. But what about the environmental impact hospitals have? Improving this is a significant opportunity for providers, a move that some estimate would save the industry billions of dollars.

The U.S. healthcare sector is responsible for producing 8 percent of the country’s total carbon dioxide emissions. They also generate an average of 26 pounds of waste per patient each day, or nearly 7,000 tons.

According to a 2012 study from the  University of Illinois-Chicago’s School of Public Health, the hospital industry could save $5.4 billion in five years and up to $15 billion in 10 years if it adopts sustainable practices. Among the areas for potential savings, according to that study were reducing medical waste costs through better sorting; recycling to reduce landfill waste; more efficient purchasing of OR supplies; and switching to reprocessed from single-use devices.

Hospitals and medical facilities looking to strengthen their sustainability programs are not alone. They can look to the American Hospital Association’s Sustainability Roadmap for practical resources to create a strategic plan addressing energy, waste, water, chemicals and building design sustainability, as well as tips on how to make the business case to organization leaders for “going green.”

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Are steps towards “zero waste” worth it?

April 29th, 2014

The idea of moving towards a “Zero Waste” world seems too farfetched for some people on the business end of the spectrum to take seriously. Even so, consumers are starting to value businesses that are more sustainably-minded, beyond simple “greenwashing.” Many skeptics seem to think that this is some idealized, unobtainable goal, when in fact there are very reachable and accessible methods of taking a few beginning steps towards Zero Waste.

Not only do sustainability-building efforts radiate feelings of social responsibility throughout the industry, but they also put value back into waste materials that would have otherwise ended up unused in a landfill. For certain products using recycled materials for manufacturing can actually be cheaper than making new ones from virgin material.

Corporations are starting to take sustainability seriously, and consumers are noticing. Being “green conscious” not only adds value back into manufacturing-generated waste, but it exudes a level of responsibility that will resonate with consumers. A world of Zero Waste obviously won’t happen overnight, but those first few steps taken by industry-leaders can most definitely guide the way.

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Health Professionals Worldwide Demand Urgent Climate Action Following IPCC Report

April 28th, 2014

Health and medical organizations from around the world are calling on governments to respond to the major health risks described in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s recent Second Working Group reporting, ‘Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation,’ which was released on Monday.

In a briefing document summarizing the IPCC report’s implications for health, now and in the future, the Global Climate & Health Alliance (GCHA) argues that there is still time to turn what has been called “the biggest global health threat of the 21st century” into one of our biggest opportunities to improve health.

“We can respond to this threat, and action now will prevent further harm. We call on our health and medical colleagues around the world to join us in demanding strong action to reduce emissions to limit these risks to health.” -Dr. Hanna

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Purchasing and Sustainability: How Hospitals Weigh Going Green

April 25th, 2014

Wharton, University of Pennsylvania reports that reducing energy use is among the most common starting places for energy-intensive hospitals to look for solutions that are green in both senses of the word, and reducing waste is not far behind. Whether it’s changing light bulbs or reprocessing formerly disposable medical devices, the payback on investments in these areas is often short, and the benefits can be substantial.

Increasing efficiency increases the bottom line and sustainability. Top priorities: energy savings and purchasing preferences, reduced packaging, re-usability and reprocessing of medical devices

Full Story

3 steps to reduce hospitals’ environmental impact

April 24th, 2014

Going green could save hospitals billions of dollars.

Hospitals could save billions by going green, according toDallas/Fort Worth Healthcare Daily.  “From water conservation and waste management efforts, to switching to electronic medical records (EMRs), to purchasing and using non-toxic and reusable cleaning supplies, hospitals are increasingly aware of their environmental impact on patients and their community.”

The healthcare industry produces 8 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. But hospitals could save $5.4 billion over five years and as much as $15 billion over a decade by adopting more sustainable practices, according to a 2012 study from the University of Illinois-Chicago’s School of Public Health. Those practices include reducing medical and landfill waste, making more efficient OR supply purchases and using reprocessed rather than single-use devices, according to the article.

Read more: here

Medline Reveals How Health Systems Reduce Waste, Maintain Quality and Achieve Millions in Savings

April 23rd, 2014

Sustainability, Quality, Value – Can Healthcare Have It All?

Hospitals operate all day, every day, making their environmental footprint large, generating approximately 7,000 tons per day of infectious, hazardous and solid waste and consuming large amounts of energy and water. Industry involvement in and support of sustainability efforts is no longer a question of “why” or “when,” but “how.”

While the opportunities to go green are increasingly available, too many are tied to the issues of cost, adoption and quality of care. “A quotesustainability solution is not realistic if it doesn’t take into account the burgeoning issues of healthcare reform,” says Frank Czajka, president of Medline Industries, Inc.’s ReNewal reprocessing division. “It also requires ongoing staff education.”

As a leading medical supplier, Medline is committed to providing realistic sustainable measures with a strong ROI to healthcare systems. Through its uniquely structured Medline ReNewal reprocessing program, hospitals can “green” their ORs to help reduce waste by as much 5,000 to 15,000 pounds for a typical 200-bed facility. In fact, Medline Renewal is on track to reprocess more than one million medical devices, including ultrasonic scalpels, shavers, blades and trocars, through contracts with more than 900 health facilities nationwide by year’s end. That alone is projected to divert nearly a half million pounds of medical device waste from landfills – the equivalent of five million empty plastic water bottles, and can save each facility on average between $600,000 and $1 million a year in surgical device acquisition costs, according to the Association of Medical Device Reprocessors.

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CleanMed 2014 Pre-Conference Workshop to focus on Greening the OR

April 15th, 2014

Tuesday, June 3

8:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

It’s been four years since the formalization of the Greening the OR Initiative, and over 400 facilities have endorsed and implemented the various strategies to green their surgical departments.  During this preconference workshop, attendees will review the importance of environmental sustainability in the operating room, learn of the new data gathered from the first Greening the OR Award, and will discuss establishing a set of metrics and new targets for the operating room.  Attendees will have the option to choose one of three different sessions – one focused on waste minimization strategies with new case studies, one focused on clinician engagement and physician-led efforts, and one focused on energy and water savings strategies in the OR and SPD.  Attendees will have an opportunity for facilitated discussion with all of the workshop’s speakers, and will be asked to collaborate on several strategy-building activities.

Learning Objectives

* Attendees will review the importance of targeting the surgical department in environmental sustainability practices.

*Attendees will discuss waste minimization strategies, water and energy savings strategies, and clinician and physician engagement opportunities in the operating room.

*Attendees will learn about new data gathered from the 2014 Environmental Excellence Awards and discuss how to establish metrics from that information.

*Attendees will participate in a facilitated discussion and group activities identifying new strategies and opportunities around their Greening the OR efforts.

 

See the announcement and agenda here

The Association of Medical Device Reprocessors Welcomes New Members Medline ReNewal and Vanguard

April 11th, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 11, 2014 – The Association of Medical Device Reprocessors (AMDR), the global trade association representing the interests of the third-party medical device reprocessing industry, today announces the addition of Medline ReNewal and Vanguard AG to its membership roster.  Medline ReNewal and Vanguard join Stryker Sustainability Solutions as AMDR members.  The growth in AMDR’s domestic and international membership base is representative of the significant growth the reprocessing industry has experienced in recent years due, in part, to the cost-savings potential reprocessing delivers to hospitals. By participating in AMDR, member companies are demonstrating a collaborative commitment to expand reprocessing services to bring increased value to national and international hospitals without sacrificing care quality.

“Value-based healthcare is replacing volume-based healthcare with hospitals now more eager than ever for solutions to reduce waste, maximize the value of their purchasing decisions, and promote sustainability,” said Dan Vukelich, president and CEO of AMDR. “Medical device reprocessing is one of the first programs clinicians employ to dramatically cut care delivery costs while providing their patients with the same standard of care.”

Since AMDR’s founding in 1997, medical device reprocessing and the value it provides to healthcare systems has grown tremendously – from a $20 million industry in the U.S. in 2000, to an estimated half billion dollar industry in the U.S. alone today.  AMDR’s members now serve a majority of U.S. hospitals, including the country’s Honor Roll hospitals, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.  As international governments grapple with how to make healthcare delivery more financially, and environmentally sustainable, all while maintaining a high quality of care, the critical role of medical device reprocessing programs in hospitals and health systems will only continue to grow.

AMDR was founded to promote the legal, regulatory and trade interests of the third-party medical device reprocessing industry.  AMDR’s members reprocess, or clean, test, inspect, remanufacture and sterilize single-use devices (SUDs) making them safe for reuse.  SUD reprocessing is strictly regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and in Germany it must comply with the guidelines of the Commission for Hospital Hygiene and Infection Prevention at the Robert Koch Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices.  AMDR members are ISO 13485 compliant, among other internationally-recognized standards.

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 About Medline ReNewal

Medline ReNewal is based in Redmond, Oregon and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Medline Industries, Inc., the largest privately held manufacturer and distributor of healthcare supplies in the United States.  Medline ReNewal is an FDA-registered third-party medical device reprocessor of single-use devices with an unwavering commitment to patient safety, surgeon satisfaction and FDA compliance.  Started in 1997, Medline Renewal is a nationally recognized reprocessing market leader and trusted partner of thousands of physicians and healthcare facilities across the country.  Through reprocessing, Medline ReNewal’s customers realize two significant benefits: financial savings which can be re-directed toward enhancing positive patient care and medical waste reduction which demonstrates positive environmental stewardship.  For more information, please visit medlinerenewal.com.

 

About Vanguard AG

Vanguard AG, based in Berlin, Germany, is Europe’s largest commercial medical device reprocessor.  It is the European market leader in the validated special reprocessing of complex medical devices, ensuring patient, user, and third-party safety.  It also provides outsourcing concepts for the central reprocessing of sterile goods in hospitals.  The company supplies integrated system solutions, with developing strategies for long-term growth in profitability and implementing processes in a quality assured manner.  The company was founded in 1998 where it set up the first industrial special reprocessing plant for medical devices in Europe. Since then, more than four million medical devices labeled “for single use” have been reprocessed at these sites. For more information, please visit vanguard-healthcare.com.

 

About Stryker Sustainability Solutions

Stryker Sustainability Solutions (and its precursor companies) is a founding member of AMDR.  As a division of Stryker Corporation, it is a leading provider of reprocessing and remanufacturing services for medical devices as well as comprehensive recycling and redistribution initiatives. For more information about Stryker’s commitment to the smart, efficient delivery of healthcare, visit sustainability.stryker.com.

 

About the Association of Medical Device Reprocessors

AMDR represents the interests of the global regulated third-party, “single-use” medical device reprocessing industry. Hospitals incorporate third-party reprocessing into their supply chain and realize the economic, safety, and environmental benefits complimenting this strategy. For more information, please visit us via Twitter, or Facebook.

 

Enroll in HHI and Submit your Data to be Featured Nationally in the HHI Milestone Report

April 10th, 2014

The Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI) is a vital initiative that is harnessing the power of America’s hospitals to improve health care’s impact in its communities. HHI enrollees demonstrate improved patient, staff and community health, reduced environmental impact, and considerable financial savings. Our success is tracked and presented in a special Milestone Report, which shows you are performing at a higher level than most health care facilities in the U.S. and Canada.

The power of HHI comes from the data. By utilizing standardization methods we can truly shift the health care sector towards sustainability and measure the progress. For this to happen, we need as much data on our six HHI “Challenges” as we can collect.

Enroll in HHI and select one or more Challenge areas that you want to take on. When you complete your initial data entry to create your baseline by                    April 15, 2014, the data deadline, you will be featured in the HHI Milestone Report and all of the media, press and promotion that comes along with it.

See story and instructions for enrollment here

 

International Top 30 Green Hospitals Revealed

April 8th, 2014

A newly released article reveals many of the greatest achievements in environmentally friendly construction in the health industry. The article celebrates the 30 most environmentally friendly hospitals in the world. Each hospital was selected based on criteria including certifications from environmental bodies, recycling efforts, green construction and innovative energy saving features.

Many of the hospitals on the list have been the recipients of prestigious awards. The Bronson Methodist Hospital, for instance, was awarded the Practice Greenhealth Environmental Leadership Circle Award. Meanwhile, the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center was named Project of the Year in the New Construction category of the US Green Building Council’s National Capital Region Chapter. The University Hospital of South Manchester received the 2012 Ashden Award after its adoption of a new energy efficiency plan succeeded in reducing carbon emissions by 28 percent.

“Power-guzzling hospitals around the world are increasingly going green in an attempt to minimize their carbon footprints. We created this list for budding healthcare administrators to showcase 30 forward-thinking hospitals that are doing their bit to help save the planet.”  The majority of the hospitals on the list have received LEED Gold certification. Most have found unique ways of removing waste efficiently, reducing energy usage or improving air quality.

Read the full story here

See the report here