Obama Administration Sees Cost Savings, Health Benefits from Climate Action

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Obama Administration Sees Cost Savings, Health Benefits from Climate Action

June 23rd, 2015

climate change cost savings imageThe health and economic benefits of global climate change policies outweigh the impacts of taking no action, the Obama administration said Monday in a new report, which was released as Congress tries to weaken some of those policies this week.

The new report by the Environmental Protection Agency makes the first attempt to quantify the benefits of global action on climate change by examining 20 key sectors from water to electricity to infrastructure, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told reporters Monday.

“The report finds that we can save tens of thousands of American lives, and hundreds of billions of dollars, annually in the United States by the end of this century, and the sooner we act, the better off America and future generations of Americans will be,” McCarthy said.

The EPA is at the center of President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which he first announced nearly two years ago, which aims to tackle greenhouse gas emissions across different sectors using mainly executive actions and existing authority under federal law.

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100 Top Hospitals: Efficient Purchasing Linked to Higher Performance

June 23rd, 2015

purchasing imageStrong clinical and operational performance at the nation’s high-performing hospitals is associated with their more efficient use of drugs and supplies, according to a new study.

Lower-than-expected use of medical supplies and pharmaceuticals is linked to lower rates of mortality, lower 30-day readmission rates and higher patient-satisfaction scores at hospitals that score well in Truven Health Analytics’ 100 Top Hospitals study, according to an exclusive study conducted for Modern Healthcare by the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based data and research firm.

Truven found that hospitals with less waste—and therefore lower-than-expected supply and pharmacy costs per discharge—outperformed others on multiple quality measures used by Medicare.

The study included 2,560 hospitals from Truven’s flagship 100 Top Hospitals study for which pharmacy and supply data were available from Medicare. Together, the hospitals reported nearly 5.3 million discharges.

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Hospital Sustainable Practices Increased in 2014

June 11th, 2015

Healthcare Facilities Focus on Recycling & Safer Chemicals

green hospitals imageUS hospitals are making an effort to use safer chemicals and reduce waste, and they’re seeing results, according to a report released by the Healthier Hospitals Initiative. The study demonstrates the results of initiatives designed to improve both operating efficiency and patient outcomes, such as safer chemicals, waste reduction, and energy efficiency.

The purchasing program seeks to transition facilities to using PVC- and DEHP-free devices, greener cleaning products, and furnishings that do not contain halogenated flame retardants, formaldehyde, perfluorinated compounds, or PVC. According to the report, the program has been responsible for an 11% increase in spending on certified cleaning products, 172 hospitals reporting to have made at least one product-line DEHP and PVC-free, and fourteen facilities meeting the goal of purchasing over 25% healthy furnishings.

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Reprocessed Medical Devices Market Analysis and Forecasts to 2022 Shared in New Research Report

June 5th, 2015

Medical Market Research reports announcements:

The global reprocessed medical devices market is expected to exhibit significant growth over the forecast period due to factors such as the rising significance of medical waste minimization which eradicates environmental concerns.

Novel advancements in techniques of testing, inspecting, cleaning & sterilizing the devices reported safe clinical application are also high impact rendering drivers for the market.

These methods include utilization of chemical sterilants such as ortho-phthalaldehyde and incorporation of ultrasonic washer. Consequentially, benefits includes greater patient safety, increased reusable cycle time and efficacy are expected to increase demand for the reprocessed medical devices market over the forecast period.

View the Grandview Research report here.

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Here’s Why Today’s Nursing Students Should Focus on Sustainability Issues

June 4th, 2015

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Sustainability Practices Benefit Hospitals’ Bottom Lines

Health care costs in the United States are out of control, but implementing sustainability practices is one way that hospitals can help keep costs fromincreasing further.

Increased energy efficiency means lower energy costs for hospitals and clinics, just as it does for any other consumer. Hospitals that invest in reusable medical supplies wherever possible spend less money on disposables, in addition to eating up fewer resources.

When hospitals and other health care facilities commit to protecting the environment, employee engagement improves. That’s because health care workers often care deeply about the environment, and understand the intricate connections between environmental hazards, like pollution, and poor health. Employees in all industries are happier when they’re able to work for organizations that reflect their own personal values, and health care workers are no exception to that rule.

Patients care about sustainability too, and as more patients are empowered to make choices about their health care, institutions that support sustainability practices are more likely to attract the business of eco-conscious patients.

Sustainability issues are more important than ever before, especially for the health care industry, which uses vast amounts of resources in the name of sanitation and good patient outcomes. But patients do better in facilities that make sustainability practices a priority — and so do employees. Since nurses are responsible for much of patient care, they’re uniquely positioned to promote sustainability concerns in the health care industry, and help the organizations they work for make the changes demanded by dwindling resources…

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Award-Winning Environmental Purchasing Program Strategies

May 20th, 2015

…Whether you’re just getting started or well on your way, the right tools can help further transform your supply chain process. This checklist provides an overview of some key environmental purchasing strategies suggested by Practice Greenhealth for award-winning hospitals.

Choosing a more environmentally preferred product or service is just one small decision—but when these small decisions happen across your hospital, it makes a measurable difference in the health and safety of your staff, patients and community. From reducing waste to recycling and saving energy, facilities can easily quantify their overall success by asking vendors for spend or tonnage reports. Many hospitals are also finding that, by including environmental attributes as part of their evaluations of products and services, they are seeing significant savings in a product’s total cost over its lifetime…

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And the Award Goes to …

May 14th, 2015

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center is this year’s Greening the OR Award winner.

The OR is a large contributor to a health care facility’s environmental footprint, but health systems nationwide are transforming their surgical suites through environmental innovation. This year, Practice Greenhealth is pleased to recognize Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (D-H) for its outstanding efforts to reduce the environmental impact of the surgical environment….

…D-H also has success with its single-use device (SUD) reprocessing program. In 2014, D-H saw significant growth in collection compliance of multiple noninvasive devices (pulse oximeters, ECG leads, DVT sleeves, blood pressure cuffs) along with an improvement in buy-back compliance of external-fixation devices. The team diverted more than nine tons of SUDs from the OR, Cath/EP labs and patient care areas for a savings of $8,758 in avoided waste disposal costs and $211,726 in the purchase of reprocessed devices…

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Healthier Hospitals Initiative’s 2014 Milestone Report Caps Three Years of Sustainability Achievement Among Hospitals Nationwide

May 14th, 2015

From p. 23 of the Report:

SUD Reprocessing

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One of the goals of the Smarter Purchasing Challenge is to increase the purchases of reprocessed SUDs by at least 50 percent over baseline. While the collection of FDA-approved SUDs for reprocessing reduces waste tonnage and disposal costs, it is equally important for hospitals to purchase back the reprocessed devices to maintain the demand, closing the loop.

Since 2010, 379 hospitals saved more than $174 million by purchasing reprocessed single-use devices. Hospitals generally buy back the reprocessed SUDs at 1/2 the original purchase price. Three hundred seventy-nine different hospitals reported data on SUD purchases since 2010. Of the 119 hospitals reporting data in 2014 that have a continuous purchasing series (2010-2014, 2011-2014, 2012-2014 or 2013-2014):  

• Fifty (42 percent) increased purchases compared to the first year in the reporting series.

• Thirty-one (26 percent) reported increasing purchasing of reprocessed devices by more than 50 percent in 2014 relative to the first year in the reporting series.

HHI has been able to quantify $174.4 million in reprocessed SUD expenditure since 2010. While it is fantastic that hospitals are spending such a large sum of money on reprocessed devices, there are numerous roadblocks to implementing an SUD purchasing program, ranging from physician buy-in to leadership support. Practice Greenhealth will continue to work with hospitals, tackling barriers around contracting limits, clinical engagement, and ongoing training and auditing needs.


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To download a copy of the full report, visit www.HealthierHospitals.org/Milestone

Reprocessed Medical Devices Market to Grow at 19.3% CAGR due to Minimization of Medical Waste: Transparency Market Research

May 13th, 2015

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Growing at a healthy CAGR of 19.3% between 2014 and 2020, the global reprocessed medical devices market is anticipated to reach a market value worth US$2.58 billion by 2020 from US$0.78 billion in 2013.

Greater focus on reducing hospital costs, medical waste minimization, and high cost of savings from reprocessed devices, fuel the global reprocessed medical devices market. This market is segmented on the basis of device and geography. Of these, the segment for cardiovascular medical devices is anticipated to grow robustly during the forecast period. This segment is fuelled by greater focus on decreasing healthcare expenditure and low prices of the products. Absence of suitable regulatory guidelines, negative perceptions about product quality, and the unwillingness to adopt reprocessed medical devices will inhibit the growth of the reprocessed medical devices market in the years to come.

Geographically, the global reprocessed medical devices market is segmented into Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, and Rest of the World. Strong regulatory policies and widespread adoption rate make North America a market leader. The Europe reprocessed medical devices market is anticipated to expand at a favorable rate of growth in the forecasting horizon owing to high demand and greater awareness about the savings via healthcare cost cuts. High pressure on maintaining healthcare budgets will fuel the reprocessed medical devices market in the forthcoming years. Medline ReNewal, ReNu Medical, and Stryker Sustainability Solutions Inc., are the key companies in this market.

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Healthy Hospitals Initiative Wraps Up, But Strategies Live On

May 13th, 2015

After achieving success in getting more hospitals involved in reducing their carbon footprint, the Healthy Hospitals Initiative will remain a Practice Greenhealth program.


The environmentally focused Healthy Hospitals Initiative finished with a bang, receiving data from 970 hospitals in its third and final year, a 52 percent increase from the previous year, and close to triple its first year participation.

“It shows a large segment of the health care sector can adopt sustainability measures and together we can have a huge impact on transforming practices,” said Jeff Brown, executive director of the supporting organization, Practice Greenhealth.

Some of the highlights of the initiative found in its 2014 Milestone Report concern areas that might not be obvious targets for sustainability, such as purchasing compound-free furnishings, an segment in which 21 of the reporting hospitals spent $12 million. That represented 58.7 percent of their total $21.3 million furnishing budget.

Successes also were reported in more well-known areas of sustainability. Participating hospitals reported they eliminated 73,600 metric tons of greenhouse gases through energy reduction, which is the same as taking 15,600 cars off the road annually. Since 2010, 457 hospitals diverted 446 thousand tons of materials from landfills, achieving a recycling rate of 24 percent.

…The participating hospitals were asked to take on efforts in one or more of six challenge areas: Engaged Leadership, Healthier Food, Leaner Energy, Less Waste, Safer Chemicals and Smarter Purchasing.

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2014 Practice GreenHealth Sustainability Report Image