This article posted on LinkedIn December 2, 2019

I once read something to the effect of, ‘if your sustainability initiatives are costing your company money, you’re doing it wrong.’

This came to mind after reading “Environmental Sustainability: More process than Progress,” by HealthCare Purchasing News’ Rick Dana Barlow. Medical device reprocessing has been helping hospitals dramatically reduce medical waste now for two decades WHILE ALSO driving down costs. In fact, last year AMDR members reported keeping 15 million pounds of medical waste from landfills AND saving our healthcare partners nearly half a billion dollars!

Those in healthcare are becoming increasingly concerned with the environmental impact associated with providing care. Hospitals need to be doing everything they can to eliminate environmental waste as we all share the same planet. As healthcare leaders, hospitals should be setting the example, and using commercially reprocessed devices is “low hanging fruit” to improve hospital environmental outputs.

Rick Dana Barlow provides two articles in the issue that focus on sustainability in healthcare. In “Embarking on Environmental Sustainability,” Mr. Barlow interviews several key supply chain professionals. Mary Starr, Vice President of Member Care for GreenHealth Exchange, itself a GPO devoted to green purchasing, notes that green programs take “perseverance.”

Indeed, it is harder to maintain a reprocessing program than just buying new all the time, but the results are worth it. Unlike simply purchasing another 100 trocars, for example, maintaining a reprocessing programs means treating those trocars with care so that they can be reprocessed, adequately collecting all used trocars for reprocessing, and things like using reprocessed devices first off the shelf to minimize the need to buy more new equipment.

Waste reduction and savings from reprocessing are measurable, as noted above, and allow hospitals to make investments into other areas to improve patient care. Reprocessing is a winning supply chain solution in many ways: it promotes more responsible medical device usage – maximizing the life cycle of expensive medical device assets, it reduces the amount of waste by reducing the amount of new devices to be purchased and it makes healthcare less expensive.

You can check out Mr. Barlow’s article here for essential tips on starting environmental sustainability supply chain solutions. His article, “Environmental Sustainability: More process than Progress” is here. And check out AMDR’s members here to get started with a reprocessing program or to reach out to your reprocessing vendor to see what you can do to improve your waste and cost reduction efforts.