May 10, 2011
by Angela Atkinson
Did you know that the healthcare industry is the second largest waste producer in the United States? Only the food industry produces more waste. That’s why more than 25 percent of hospitals are making changes to decrease their waste output and save money at the same time. In an effort to reduce spending and help preserve the environment, increasing numbers of hospitals are choosing to use reprocessed medical devices like heart monitor catheters, orthopedic drill bits and more.
While the practice of using these reprocessed devices has sparked debate in the healthcare community, proponents point out that saving up to 60 percent on medical devices will make it worthwhile, especially in the current economic climate as healthcare reform efforts work to reduce spending. Plus, they note, waste levels can be significantly reduced.
For example, Ascent, a vendor of reprocessed devices, reports that its hospital customers saved hundreds of millions of dollars by using reprocessed devices in 2009—and their use of these devices kept more than five million pounds of waste out of landfills that year.