Sustainability in the Operating Room

Ann Jarousse
March 10, 2015
Hospitals & Health Networks
The benefits of sustainability are too important to ignore.
Hospital sustainability programs reduce costs and enhance the quality of patient care. However, given the long list of priorities that hospitals must tackle, sustainability too often falls by the wayside. Today, the benefits of sustainability are too important to ignore.
The operating room warrants a close look. It’s often the largest generator of revenue, as well as the largest consumer of supply costs and the biggest generator of waste. “Sustainability in the OR is the key to staying in business,” says John Abenstein, M.D., associate professor of anesthesiology at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. “It provides a considerable opportunity to reduce expenditures through better resource utilization and reduction in waste.”
Kate Huncke, M.D., vice chair of the department of anesthesia at NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City, says,. “the waste generated from the OR is way out of proportion to the footprint it occupies within the hospital. There’s significant opportunity for improvement.”
Sustainability in the OR is a multipronged initiative that can include, but is not limited to, recycling and reprocessing equipment; reducing prescription drug waste; properly disposing of medical waste; and choosing and managing anesthetics to reduce the overall amount of inhalants used and dispersed into the atmosphere.