Case Studies

The case studies in this section provide visibility into how and where sustainability fits within the modern health care organization. They have been developed as a practical resource to help guide the development and implementation of a successful sustainability program, particularly as it relates to the HH Challenge areas.

Focusing more on the sustainability journey itself rather than the end-result of such efforts, these studies aim to help health care organizations understand the issues, strategies and challenges they may face along the path to sustainability. They provide key insights and lessons learned from organizations that have already been there.

  • Virginia Mason | Single Use Device Reprocessing

    By: Christina Quint
    Single-use medical devices are expensive resources that end up in the landfill after use.By using reprocessed medical devices, Virginia Mason has provided the highest quality of care, while reducing waste to the landfill and reducing supply costs by over $3M in three years. In 2014, Virginia Mason reprocessed or recycled over 18,850 pounds of devices, which may have otherwise have been discarded in a landfill.

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  • University Hospitals Health System | Healthy Interiors Goal

    By: Christina Quint
    University Hospitals (UH) is committed to environmental sustainability and signed onto all six Challenges of the Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI), including the Safer Chemicals Challenge.The Safer Chemicals Challenge includes a goal to reduce the use of furnishings containing polyvinyl chloride (PVC), halogenated flame retardants, perfluorinated compounds (PFC) and formaldehyde.
  • UMass Medical School | Combined Heat and Power Expansion Project

    By: Christina Quint
    The CHP project was undertaken to better support a growing campus.To make this project financially possible, UMass Medical School combined current construction efforts to include a new Combined Heat and Power System and received financial incentives from the local utility company. The project saved annually 58,000 MWh in electricity and $6.2 million.

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  • St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center | Regulated Medical Waste (RMW) Reduction

    By: Christina Quint
    Since 2009, St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center has reduced their regulated medical waste (RMW) from 10 to seven percent of total waste, saving an estimated $2,000 per year in waste disposal fees. The operating room and endoscopy personnel identified opportunities for improvement. This win-win opportunity was accomplished through education, improved segregation and regular audits.

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  • Spectrum Health | Green Cleaning Goal

    By: Christina Quint
    Spectrum Health identified that many of the cleaning products used were harmful to patients, employees and the environment. In 2006, Butterworth and Blodgett evaluated existing chemicals used and transitioned to environmentally preferred cleaners. The outcome was a healthier work environment for staff, a healthier recovery environment for patients and reduced overall cleaning costs.

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  • Seattle Children's Hospital | Surgical Kit Review

    By: Christina Quint
    Seattle Children’s Hospital has a strategic environmental management plan to help safeguard health and resources, while lowering operating costs so it can fulfill its founding promise: “To care for every child in our region, regardless of their family’s ability to pay.” Part of that work is the reduction of waste. By evaluating the surgical kits in operation rooms with staff and the facility’s vendor every 1-2 years, the team is able to eliminate unnecessary items and prevent their waste. The end results are streamlined surgical kits, enhanced vendor relationships and cost savings.
  • Palomar Health | Sustainable, Local and Organic Food Purchasing

    By: Christina Quint
    With its position in the community, 4,400 employees, and over 2 million meals prepared per year, Palomar Health has a significant opportunity to make a positive impact on human health and the environment by serving more sustainable, local, and organic produce.

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  • Kaiser Permanente | Purchasing Environmentally Responsible Electronics with EPEAT

    By: Christina Quint
    Kaiser Permanente is strongly committed to the health and safety of its patients and staff. The organization honors that dedication by purchasing 100 percent EPEAT laptops, desktops, and monitors, and striving to replicate this for other electronic devices. The business cost of purchasing the computer systems was cost neutral, with an added energy savings of $5 million per year.

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  • Johns Hopkins Hospital | Balanced Menus Goal

    By: Christina Quint
    Johns Hopkins Hospital (JHH) took their commitment to the Healthier Food Challenge’s Balanced Menus Goal of the Healthier Hospitals Initiative seriously. Given that meat is often the most expensive product category for hospital food service departments, JHH adopted the “less meat, better meat” strategy, first reducing by 15 percent the amount of meat they purchased overall in 2014 and then investing in purchasing healthier, more sustainably-produced meat products.
  • Hudson Hospital & Clinic | Recycling

    By: Christina Quint
    Environmental degradation of the St. Croix River prompted community leaders of its border communities to come together to address the issue and resolve to improve river health by improving operations in their respective organizations. Hudson Hospital & Clinic successfully implemented a paper use reduction initiative and enhanced recycling program, which became a building block to ongoing organizational performance improvement. Since 2010, Hudson Hospital and Clinic achieved a median recycling rate of 37.60 percent of total hospital waste (HHI goal: 15 percent).

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