|Green Hospital Equipment Could Save Millions
The world has been infected with the "going green" bug
and hospitals are no exception; especially when the concept can save
them millions of dollars.
According to research by Johns Hopkins, with proper
sterilization, recalibration and testing the reuse of common and unused
medical equipment is safe, and a true penny saver.
"No one really thinks of good hospitals as massive waste
producers, but they are. There are many things hospitals can do to
decrease waste and save money that they are not currently doing," said
Lead Researcher Dr. Martin Makary, M.P.H., surgeon and associate
professor of public health at the Johns Hopkins University School of
Besides bedding and gowns being thrown out, laparoscopic
ports and ultrasonic cutting tools are discarded after a single use.
Equipment that wasn’t used, simply exposed in the operating room
could also be recycled to reduce cost.
Other than recycling the hospital’s own materials,
they could purchase already used equipment at half the cost,
A quarter of U.S. hospitals reported using recycled
equipment in 2002, including Banner Health in Phoenix who saved $1.5
million over 12 months from reprocessing operating room supplies like
compression sleeves, pulse oximeters, open but unused devices, etc.
The noted downside by researchers is the perceived notion that recycled medical equipment is unsafe.
"These devices are safe, but it’s a public
relations challenge. Some people don’t like the idea that
they’re being treated with equipment that has been used before.
But these reprocessed devices are as good as new since the testing
standards for reuse are impeccable and there have been no patient
safety problems in our analysis," said Markary.
The Johns Hopkins analysis was published in the journal Academic Medicine.
Address: Johns Hopkins University, 901 South Bond Street, Suite 540, Baltimore, MD 21231; (443) 287-9960, www.hopkinsmedicine.org.