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Celebrating Health Care Without Harm’s 20th Anniversary

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Gary Cohen reflects on the last two decades in the environmental health movement and offers an opportunity for health care to redefine its role in the 21st century.


When we started Health Care Without Harm, we hardly knew anyone who worked in the health care sector. We were mostly outsiders, community activists who had been working for decades in the environmental movement. But we knew we needed powerful allies to transform this emerging science linking the environment to our health into action that would protect our children, our families, our communities. We needed health care.

Back then, new science revealed that low-dose exposures of toxic chemicals in the first thousand days of a child’s life could create a host of health problems later in life, including cancer, learning disabilities, infertility, and other chronic diseases. At the same time, we began to learn that pregnant women and unborn children were being exposed to these same toxic chemicals. We were outraged by this chemical trespass into our bodies. And so in September of 1996, a small group of individuals met at Commonweal in Bolinas, California, giving birth to Health Care Without Harm…

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Giving “Choosing Wisely” a Sporting Chance

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Choosing Wisely

Choosing Wisely is something that corroborates the best practices in medicine very well,” said Dr. Anuruddh Kumar (A.K.) Misra, MD, Medical Director at US HealthWorks in San Francisco, California. “It’s simple, it works well, and when it comes from the right source people are receptive to it.”

In recognition of his efforts to improve care in sports medicine, Dr. Misra was recently recognized as a Choosing Wisely Champion by the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM). Announced earlier this year, the Champions program is an initiative of the ABIM Foundation to recognize clinicians who are leading efforts to reduce overuse and waste in health care. More than a dozen leading medical specialty societies have committed to participate in the program.

“I think there’s so much information out there that physicians and patients don’t necessarily know where to go. One thing ABIM Foundation does well is that just the very words ‘Choosing Wisely’ resonate with people who want wisdom and direction,” he said.

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Determining the Cost of Not Going Green

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A new Practice Greenhealth tool identifies the costs of medical devices from an environmental perspective

 

Source: Jeff Ferenc, H&HN Magazine

Leading health care sustainability steward Practice Greenhealth, Reston Va., rolled out a new tool to help hospitals simplify purchasing of green products and evaluate their life-time costs compared with other market choices.

The Greenhealth Cost of Ownership Calculator allows hospitals and health systems to analyze costs of products, equipment and devices beyond the purchase price.

The calculator also can analyze, if applicable, the cost of maintenance, water usage, energy and disposal. The free tool, which is available to all hospitals and health care systems, was unveiled at an online demonstration and trade press briefing Wednesday.

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Study Shows Hospitals Waste Millions Tossing Away Unused Supplies

 

Source: Thomas Dworetzky, DotMed

Sustainability in the OR may be challenging, but as cost containment becomes more important in the modern push to improve the efficiency of health care delivery, it is a must.

In a 2013 HCB News article on sustainability, author Brian White, president of Stryker Sustainability Solutions, made the compelling case that, “the total value of third-party reprocessing extends beyond cost-savings. Reprocessing programs also divert waste and support sustainability initiatives within facilities. Let’s use the operating room as an example. Practice Greenhealth estimates that the OR generates 20 to 30 percent of an average hospital’s waste. Today, reprocessing is one of the most significant ways that ORs can reduce their environmental footprint.”

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The Key to Greening Healthcare

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Grow sustainability through upper-level buy-in

 

Source: HSM, July/August E-book

THE KEY TO GREENING HEALTHCARE

In healthcare, environmental stewardship can offer an alternative way to practice the Hippocratic Oath — to heal and do no harm. Hospitals can have a positive effect on both indoor and outdoor environments by using safer products, reducing air pollution, eliminating toxins, creating less waste, and using energy and water efficiently. But it doesn’t end there, because sustainability is about much more than just environmental stewardship.

HEALTHCARE’S UNIQUE ROLE IN SUSTAINABILITY. Our relationship with our environment is shifting. Historically, we have focused on the impact we have on the environment: our water systems, air quality and forests. There’s a new ideology centered on the connection between the environment and our health — how the air we breathe, the chemicals we use and the water we drink impact our wellbeing. In this new paradigm, the healthcare industry has a key opportunity and responsibility to lead this conversation…

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WHO Global Model Regulatory Framework for Medical Devices Including IVDs

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The World Health Organization (WHO)’s “Global Model Regulatory Framework for Medical Devices Including IVDs” draft document, released this last July, includes recommendations for regulatory authorities to adopt a policy whereby SUD reprocessing is subject to the same standards as applied to original device manufacturers.

AMDR wholly supports and endorses the WHO approach as regulated SUD reprocessing has proven to curtail, if not stop, inappropriate and unregulated in-house reuse, and promote a proper, regulated marketplace for lower cost and environmentally responsible reprocessed and remanufactured SUDs.

Global Model Regulatory Framework for Medical Devices Including IVDs

Excerpt from Reprocessing of single use medical devices:

“In adopting a policy on the reprocessing of SUMDs, the regulatory authority should consider the following: reprocessing of a SUMD as labelled by its manufacturer is not permitted unless the reprocessed SUMD meets the same initial standards as those of the original manufacturer. In order to allow their reuse, a party that reprocesses and distributes medical devices labelled by their original manufacturer for single-use only will be held to the same requirements of safety, quality and performance as manufacturers of new devices. This applies equally to a health-care facility fully reprocessing single-use medical devices for reuse within its own facility…”

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6 Trends in $1B Medical Devices Reprocessing Market

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Source: Laura Dyrda, Becker’s ASC Review

The reprocessed medical devices market is expected to grow over the next few years, according to a new report from Credence Research.

 

 

 

Here are six key trends:

1. The market was valued at $1.079 billion last year and is expected to reach $2.4 billion by 2022. The market is expanding at a 10.6 percent compound annual growth rate through 2022.

2. The main factors driving the market growth include:

• Pressure to reduce medical waste for environmental concerns
• Managing hospital expenditure
• Improved quality of reprocessed medical devices

3. The North American market is the largest regional market and accounts for more than 50 percent of the market share in 2015. North America is expected to continue dominating the market over the next six years…

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New Exchange Aims to Bleed Green, Not Red

 

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Source: Rick Dana Barlow, HPN Online

When it comes to progressing toward and implementing environmentally responsible contracting and purchasing of sustainable products and services, a small percentage of forward-thinking “green”-minded healthcare organizations have been making some waves.

Through their individual philosophies and projects, they have been carrying the flag for sustainability in healthcare, which they promote as fitting hand-in-glove from a missional standpoint.

Their efforts motivated and paved the way for propelling sustainability to the next level in a more prominent role.

Back in May, Practice Greenhealth and Health Care Without Harm put their green efforts into overdrive, tapping two veteran group purchasing organization executives to found Greenhealth Management. John Strong, former head of the heritage Premier Health Alliance (now part of Premier Inc.) and later Consorta (now part of HealthTrust), and Mary Starr, previously a key leader in Consorta, HealthTrust and University HealthSystem Consortium (now part of Vizient), used Greenhealth Management to launch Greenhealth Exchange, a supply chain support services organization designed for strategic sourcing, contracting and purchasing sustainable products and services for healthcare provider organizations that join it…

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Cleveland Clinic’s Green Fund Delivers Results

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Health system pays for lighting retrofit, building automation upgrade largely with green fund

Source: Jeff Ferenc, HFM Daily

Cleveland Clinic is wasting no time in making the $7.5 million green revolving fund (GRF) pay major financial dividends by launching ambitious energy-savings projects paid for, in large part, through the fund.

Touted as the largest of its kind in the health care field and one of the largest in any business sector in the nation when the green revolving fund was announced in May, Cleveland Clinic is moving quickly to increase its energy-efficiency index by investing in large-scale, energy-saving projects…

The GRF will help to drive Cleveland Clinic’s goal to reduce energy intensity by 20 percent by 2020. Through the end of 2015, Cleveland Clinic had reduced its energy demand by 12.3 percent across its 20 million square feet of facilities compared with a baseline year of 2010.

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Tossing Unused Surgical Supplies Wastes Millions Of Dollars, Study Finds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Ana B. Ibarra, California Healthline

It’s long been a problem for the nation’s hospitals: A staggering number of medical supplies — from surgical gloves to sponges to medications — go unused and are discarded after surgeries.

A recent study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco has put a price tag on that waste: almost $1,000 per procedure examined at the academic medical center.

The research, published in May in the Journal of Neurosurgery, examined 58 neurosurgeries performed by 14 different surgeons at UCSF Medical Center, a leading academic hospital…

As health care costs continue to skyrocket, it is important to look for ways to contain them, said Dr. Michael Lawton, a neurosurgeon at UCSF and one of the study’s authors…

Some medical devices, whether used or unused during surgery, can be reprocessed by an FDA-approved third party company and sold back to the hospital for about half the original sales price, Lee explained. This allows hospitals to save money and cut down on the volume of disposable supplies that end up in landfill.

This strategy saved UCSF hospitals about $1.1 million over the past year, Lee said.

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