Medical Device Reprocessing: A New Way to Go Green

Medical Device Reprocessing: A New Way to Go Green

March 4th, 2011

OR Nurse (subscription or purchase required)

Vol. 5, Issue 2, pp. 43-46

March 2011

Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, California began reprocessing medical devices in 2004, starting with low-risk, non-invasive items such as compression sleeves and pulse oximeter probes. Their original intent was to address the rising costs of health care expenses and hopefully curb the exorbitant amount of waste their facilities were directing to landfills annually. They had no idea that by the end of the decade, they would have saved nearly $1 million and diverted almost 20,000 pounds of unnecessary waste.

Early in the process, they elected to utilize the services of  a third-party reprocessing facility to handle their new operation. A “green team” was established from within the staff ranks to help coordinate their new sustainability efforts. According to Mrs. Metcalf, “A key to the program’s success was having initial front line buy-in from staff as well as early adoption from physicians…[t]o achieve maximum support for the process, the organization brought key participants together fro a full-day tour of the third-party reprocessor’s remanufacturing plant.” After touring the facilities, evaluating their inspection process, engaging in numerous rounds of Q & A with all internal and external parties involved in the transition, and establishing a plan catered specifically to their hospital, Hoag soon became a beacon for sustainability in the medical community.

Today, Hoag Hospital continues to promote sustainability in the OR and has even found ways to recycle practically all OR waste that leaves their hospital. They have received numerous awards for their successful efforts to promote green initiatives and continue seeking out ways to diversify their reprocessing program in collaboration with their third-party supplier. In one year alone, from 2008 to 2009, Hoag doubled their savings ($500,000 to $1 million) with the addition of reprocessed harmonic scalpels to their inventory; thanks to their efforts, the hospital can begin making preparations for a new campus in 2011.