green healthcareSource: Lisa Xia, Huffington Post

Healthcare, as we know it, is simply not sustainable. With growing realities including escalating costs shifting market access models; stakeholder and regulatory scrutiny; low patient trust; and an evolving physical environment threatening human health — the industry knows it needs to make itself more sustainable — but the answers might not be so easy to find.

Most healthcare multinationals have long invested in some type of philanthropy, sustainability or CSR programs, although to varying degrees. Typically, these investments focus on the core challenge that healthcare faces as an industry — access to medicine and care. The approach so far has been mostly through philanthropy programs to expand access to those who can’t afford it any other way. Those that go beyond this main challenge tend to do some additional work around three core CSR pillars: people (employee health, community investment, science education); planet (operational efficiency, product stewardship); and performance (business innovation, financial sustainability).

Here are some key practices for ensuring sustainability practices are integrated as part of a holistic approach to healthcare and that they occur at a higher, more strategic level within healthcare systems:

  • Healthcare companies must have a point-of-view about a future healthcare system of the future that is sustainable, delivers access, and presents a value proposition that puts patient results at least equal to profits.
  • As an industry focused on human health, healthcare must be an advocate for policy and partnership that drastically cuts environmental footprint — not just a supporter of environmental stewardship.
  • Being a differentiated company that proactively pursues sustainability integration will create a competitive advantage to customers and get ahead of potential regulation…..

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