Operating Room Sustainability is Critical to Healthcare Business

Vikas Vij
March 12, 2015
Just Means
Healthcare comprises nearly 16 percent of the American economy. Hospitals operate round the clock, making a substantial environmental footprint. According to the EPA data, hospitals generate about 7,000 tons per day of waste, including infectious waste and hazardous waste. Mercury is used in medical devices and equipment, and several other hospital materials may have toxic effects. Hospitals also consume large amounts of energy and water.
Hospital sustainability programs can not only support the environment, but also reduce costs and improve the quality of patient care. Particularly, the Operating Room (OR) deserves maximum attention on the sustainability front. The OR is often the largest generator of revenue for a hospital, and it is also the largest generator of waste. According to Mayo Clinic’s Dr. John Abenstein, sustainability in the OR is the key to staying in business.
Dr. Abenstein, who is also the president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, says that sustainability in the OR provides a good opportunity to cut costs through more efficient resource utilization and reduction in waste. Dr. Kate Huncke, vice chair of the department of anesthesia at NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City, says that the waste generated from the OR is way out of proportion to the footprint it occupies within the hospital.