Archive December 2015 XVI, No. 12

Business Advisor: Going Green Can Save You Green

10 ways that environmental stewardship can really pay off.

Julie Moyle, MSN

BIO

fluid waste management systems FLOW CHART Direct-to-drain fluid waste management systems limit the amount of costly regulated medical waste.

Going green is the right thing to do for the environment, but taking steps to reduce your facility's carbon footprint can also result in significant returns on eco-friendly investments. Here are 10 ways you can save big by reprocessing, reorganizing, reducing and recycling.

1. Reprocess SUDs
When you outsource the sterile processing of single-use devices (SUD) to government-regulated third-party vendors, you buy back the devices at typically half the original cost. In 2014, hospitals with single-use-device reprocessing programs saved an average of $130,286, with additional savings in lower waste disposal fees, according to Practice Greenhealth's 2015 Sustainability Benchmark Report (osmag.net/CmGy6Z). The University of Washington Hospitals in Seattle diverted 5.8 tons of waste and saved $496,123 in 2008 by reprocessing more than 100 different SUDs.

2. Prune your supply kits
Reviewing the contents of OR procedure kits and packs and eliminating items that largely go unused saves an average of $1,028 per kit, according to Practice Greenhealth's Healthier Hospitals 2015 Milestone Report (osmag.net/DK4Qej). At the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) in Baltimore, staff monitored the contents of their packs and identified an unused or return rate of more than 10%. Since 2010, they have reduced the return rate to 1.2%, which resulted in savings in 2014 of more than $140,000.

3. Move (back) to reusables
More than 80% of Practice Greenhealth's award-winning hospitals use reusable devices in the OR. According to Practice Greenhealth, UMMC moved to reusable textiles more than 15 years ago, and in 2010, diverted 138,748 pounds of waste and saved $38,850 in avoided waste disposal costs. The medical center also saved $39,000 in returned instruments alone. Kaiser Permanente reduced its regulated medical waste (RMW) by 3.8% and diverted 30 tons of medical waste by using reusable surgical gowns and basin sets.

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