The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines a Sustainable Healthcare System as a system that improves, maintains or restores health, while minimizing negative impacts on the environment and leveraging opportunities to restore and improve it, to the benefit of the health and well-being of current and future generations.
There is clear evidence suggesting that activities of a healthcare system significantly impact and pressurize the environment. These include generation of hazardous and conventional waste, waste water and greenhouse gas emissions, and the high consumption of resources such as water and energy. Infact, between 75% and 90% of waste produced in health care may pose a wide range of environmental and health risks.
Fortunately, technological advancements in the healthcare sector have shown the potential to provide health and environmental benefits. Electronic e-heath interventions have improved health outcomes and access to care, reduced pollution through reduced need for travel and saved costs through reduced need for care. Various medical devices and technologies have also contributed to reduction in water usage and production of wastewater, thereby negating greenhouse gas emissions.
Four ways in which a healthcare provider can turn more sustainable:
Practice Chemical Safety
Chemicals used in LCD displays, fluorescent lamps, CRT monitors, flame-retardant mattresses, wheelchair cushions and even baby bottles can turn out to be hazardous. Hospitals must make conscious purchasing decisions and recycle toxic products periodically.
Follow Waste Disposal Protocols
Disinfecting medical waste can prove to be an energy intensive process known to release noxious fumes. Healthcare providers must consider moving to greener ways of waste disposal such as autoclaving, chemical treatment and microwaving.
Saving energy and carbon output may seem like impossible task, but not if the hospital reprograms their heating and cooling plants, re-engineers air handling systems and upgrades lighting systems to begin with.
Healthcare providers can save over millions of gallons of water per year simply by replacing washroom toilets, faucets and showers with water-efficient alternatives and purchasing high-efficiency dishwashers.
Every effort taken to strengthen environmental sustainability in healthcare systems can succeed only with the active engagement and collaboration of an engaged workforce. The system must actively engage health care workers in the process of creating, implementing and managing the environmental sustainability measures, while instilling a sense of ownership and responsibility in them.
Through a growing network of 1500+ employees, 1200+ channel partners and nine world-class manufacturing units spread across the world, Labspec Healthcare has been committed to a sustainable business model that delivers value by offering best available health technology solutions for millions of people worldwide.