… Sustainability in the OR is a multipronged initiative that can include, but is not limited to, recycling and reprocessing equipment; reducing prescription drug waste; properly disposing of medical waste; and choosing and managing anesthetics to reduce the overall amount of inhalants used and dispersed into the atmosphere.
“Sustainability in the OR involves changing habits in a culture that needs to be so exacting,” says Susan Ryan, M.D., clinical professor of anesthesiology at UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco. Surgeons, anesthesiologists and perioperative nurses are cautious, Abenstein acknowledges. “There is a fear of the unknown, of anything that can put the patient at risk.”
Lauren Berkow, M.D., associate chief of the division of neuroanesthesia at Johns Hopkins Health System, Baltimore, says educating physicians on the financial and environmental impacts of OR sustainability will go a long way toward achieving buy-in.
Her organization saved more than $5 million on an OR reprocessing program between 2010 and 2013. “It’s important to show results to build on your success,” Berkow adds…
Key Steps in Greening the OR
…Dedicate a Green Team focused on sustainability in the operating room. Create a multidisciplinary team to oversee sustainability initiatives in the OR. Participants may include representatives from nursing, materials management, anesthesiology, environmental services and surgery, among others.
Educate OR staff on the benefits of sustainability. Spell out to operating room staff the importance of sustainability. Getting buy-in up front will help to ensure the program’s success.
Tackle waste. Conduct a waste audit to help identify ways to streamline medical waste disposal. Preventing items from unnecessarily being placed in the regulated medical waste stream, which is more costly to dispose, can result in significant savings.
Purchase reprocessed medical devices. Partner with an approved third-party processor to purchase reprocessed medical devices, and reprocess eligible devices….