Healthcare Daily reports “First, do no harm” has long been the mantra of healthcare professionals who focus on the safety and well-being of their patients. But what about the environmental impact hospitals have? Improving this is a significant opportunity for providers, a move that some estimate would save the industry billions of dollars.
The U.S. healthcare sector is responsible for producing 8 percent of the country’s total carbon dioxide emissions. They also generate an average of 26 pounds of waste per patient each day, or nearly 7,000 tons.
According to a 2012 study from the University of Illinois-Chicago’s School of Public Health, the hospital industry could save $5.4 billion in five years and up to $15 billion in 10 years if it adopts sustainable practices. Among the areas for potential savings, according to that study were reducing medical waste costs through better sorting; recycling to reduce landfill waste; more efficient purchasing of OR supplies; and switching to reprocessed from single-use devices.
Hospitals and medical facilities looking to strengthen their sustainability programs are not alone. They can look to the American Hospital Association’s Sustainability Roadmap for practical resources to create a strategic plan addressing energy, waste, water, chemicals and building design sustainability, as well as tips on how to make the business case to organization leaders for “going green.”
Read the full story here