First Do No Harm: Why Sustainable Healthcare Needs You

Archive for the ‘News’ Category

First Do No Harm: Why Sustainable Healthcare Needs You

May 21st, 2014

It’s no coincidence then that, as the focus on health care quality intensifies, we are also seeing an expanded emphasis on sustainability. Industry organizations like Practice Green Health and Healthier Hospitals Initiative are expanding their efforts nationally and internationally. And health care sustainability leaders are becoming more sophisticated in their efforts.

Despite all of this great work, health care sustainability efforts often haven’t been included in the broader sustainability conversation. Without this cross-pollination of sustainability ideas with other industries, health care can sometimes lack innovation.

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Dan Vukelich To Speak At CEDEST Today

May 15th, 2014

Dan Vukelich will be speaking today, May 15, at CEDEST in Cartagena, Spain, “Reprocessing Single-Use Medical Devices: Experience in the U.S.”

CleanMed To Host 2014 Conference on Sustainable Healthcare

May 12th, 2014

CleanMed will hold its 2014 conference at the Global Center for Health Innovation in Cleveland, Ohio on June 2-5. CleanMed brings the nation’s preeminent healthcare leaders together with an outstanding line up of healthcare sector operations experts, sustainability staff, and health sector supporting entities for an exciting three-day conference on sustainable healthcare.

Register here

MD H2E Cites Reprocessing As Important for Sustainability at “Boardroom Level”

May 6th, 2014

Sustainability investments have been shown to spur employee retention, improve public health and mission-based goals, increase or maintain reimbursement rates through patient satisfaction, and encourage CFOs to engage in life-cycle thinking. In addition, as community anchors, hospitals benefit from a lasting positive impact on the hospital’s brand.

But when it comes to making the case for sustainability at the boardroom level, metrics matter: from reprocessing of single-use devices to eco-friendly materials, energy saving strategies, green building, water conservation, recycling and beyond.

Full story here, page 3


Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (MD H2E) Highlights Reprocessing Savings

May 2nd, 2014

Maryland hospitals have a lot to be proud of.   H2E’s Sustainable Victories publication highlights Johns Hopkins Bayview for increasing medical device reprocessing savings 31 percent and diverting approximately 7,000 pounds of waste from landfills.  Click here for more from MD H2E.

Calculating the Value of Health Care Sustainability

May 1st, 2014

What do roof shingles, intravenous tubing, floor cleaners and heart catheters have in common? They’re all necessary to run a hospital. The wide array of products needed in the healthcare setting, coupled with pressure on healthcare systems to meet the demands of an aging population and increases in chronic disease, have driven hospital purchasing to more than $200 billion annually on medical and non-medical products. Hospitals are expensive to operate — and just as taxing on the environment. Sustainability-focused investments can help reduce these expenses, yet many healthcare professionals wonder: What is the true value of sustainability?

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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

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