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.

  • Healthier Food: Implementing a Sustainable Foods Program at Inova Health System

    By: HHI Admin

    On a whole, the healthcare industry is serving highly processed, unhealthy foods which have both direct and indirect negative impacts on health. Production processes contaminate the environment and are unsustainable in the long-run, while unhealthy consumption habits continue to contribute to the obesity epidemic and other long-term health issues. Healthcare organizations are challenged with overhauling their food service systems to be more socially responsible and offer more healthful options.

  • Single Use Device Reprocessing at Vanguard Health Systems

    By: HHI Admin

    Third party reprocessing of medical use devices labeled as single use is a safe and regulated process that can reduce volume of waste generated by hospital and significantly reduce operating costs to the organization. Reprocessing is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and third party preprocessors must meet the same standards as original device manufacturers. We identified significant opportunities to reprocess medical devices throughout Vanguard Health Systems in order to reduce both waste and costs

  • Efficient use of Resources: Reprocessing of Single Use Devices at HCA (Hospital Corporation of America)

    By: HHI Admin

    As hospitals transitioned away from cleaning and sterilizing much of their equipment the original equipment manufacturers (OEM) started providing single-use devices such as catheters and trocars to replace the reusable products previously employed. These OEM designated single-use devices increased the amount of waste a hospital generated and led to an increased cost. The appropriate reuse of these devices could result in both cost savings and waste reduction. Most of the OEM designated single use devices are disposed of as bio-hazardous waste, which further increases the cost of...

  • Energy Reduction: A commitment to transformation at Bon Secours St. Francis Health System

    By: HHI Admin

    Healthcare organizations spend between $6-$8 billion a year on energy. Our challenge was to create and implement a strategy achieving sustainable and quantifiable positive results in decreasing our local carbon footprint through low-cost energy- efficiency measures.

  • In House Laundry Success at St. Joseph’s Medical Center

    By: HHI Admin

    With the current economic climate, and labor costs in need of reduction, the on site laundry justifies the money is well spent and saved. Waste produced by medical centers significantly impacts the community landfill. Currently, St. Joseph’s Medical Center utilizes approximately 220,000 reusable isolation gowns, nearly 30 gowns per isolation patient, as well as, 231,000 Incontinent Pads on an annual basis.

  • Safer Chemicals: Mercury Elimination at MetroWest Medical Center

    By: HHI Admin

    Mercury is a persistent, bio-accumulative neurotoxin that can adversely affect human health. Mercury is found throughout healthcare in clinical and facility devices, laboratory reagents, preservatives, dental amalgam, cleaning agents, electronics and fluorescent bulbs.

  • Partners HealthCare | McLean Hospital Filtered Water Program

    By: HHI Admin

    Four issues: Expense: FY08 bottled water expense was $59,708. Of this, $43,650 was in inpatient areas alone. - Waste: Unfinished 8 ounce bottles and opened gallon jugs. Total quantities up to 45,000 bottles. - Clutter: Individual-sized plastic bottles cluttering patient areas. Storage issues. - Time and expense: Unit staff placed orders, counted received items, food vendor ordered and delivered water daily as requested. - Green concerns: Plastic bottles have a negative impact on the environment.

  • Partners HealthCare Strategic Energy Master Plan

    By: HHI Admin

    In 2008 Partners HealthCare was incurring $100m. in annual energy costs in 15 constituent facilities with a consumption escalation rate of 1.5% per year. Power sources were 49% carbon fuel, 30% hydro, 18% nuclear, and 3% renewables. Massachusetts imports over 90% of its energy and is subject to volatile price swings.

  • Partners HealthCare | North Shore Medical Center Waste

    By: HHI Admin

    The Integrated Waste Stream Solution at NSMC resulted from the need for better strategic management of the multitude and growing number of identifiable waste streams; each with their own set of compliance rules and regulations.

  • Renewable Energy at Marian Medical Center

    Renewable Energy at Marian Medical Center
    By: HHI Admin

    With the nearby Santa Maria Landfill, hospital staff developed a plan to use landfill gas from the facility to provide electricity to the hospital. As a large user of electricity and natural gas, hospitals are a natural choice for onsite co-generation. The use of landfill gas as a fuel source is an opportunity to achieve a fully renewable facility.