Greenbiz reports in a poll conducted by Johnson &Johnson and Practice Greenhealth among 900 hospital administrators and other health care professionals attending last month’s CleanMed Conference and Exposition in Boston, survey findings reveal that the health care industry is expanding its definition of  the “bottom line” to include sustainability. Ninety percent of those surveyed said their hospital had increased investments in sustainability initiatives from 2011 to 2012.

Show me the money: Financial concerns a key sustainability priority

Many hospitals and clinics are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so it’s not surprising that the industry has a large environmental footprint. Costs associated with the energy consumed and waste generated continue to increase, which is an obvious priority for hospital administrators.

The financial impacts of sustainability are of key concern to administrators when it comes to prioritizing how they go about greening their hospitals and organizations. In fact, 37 percent of hospital administrators polled said “reducing overall operational costs” is their highest priority. More specifically, hospital administrators cited energy usage (37 percent), products and supplies (28 percent), and waste disposal (22 percent) as key areas of focus when it comes to reducing operational costs. Hospitals also say decreasing waste (33 percent) and creating a greener, healthier environment for patients (22 percent) are other priorities of their sustainability strategies.

One example of this is an initiative at Metro Health Hospital in Wyoming, Mich., which focuses on purchasing greener medical devices to help save money, increase recycling rates and reduce waste. Through the purchase of reprocessed single-use devices from Sterilmed, a Johnson & Johnson company, between 2008 and 2010, Metro Health saved more than $235,000 and avoided nearly two tons of waste, as well as reduced costs associated with disposing regulated medical waste.

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