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Home / News & IndustryManaged Care Insight and Analysis
Updated: May 18, 2010
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 Medicine.

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, researchers said.

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,

  This article was taken from:
Healthcare Reimbursement Monitor

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