Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important consideration in the healthcare industry, as healthcare organizations recognize the significant environmental impact of their operations and seek to reduce their carbon footprint. Here are some sustainability trends in healthcare:
Green building: Green healthcare facilities have become more common in recent years. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, there are over 1,300 LEED-certified healthcare facilities in the United States. Healthcare facilities are increasingly designed and constructed using sustainable building practices, such as energy-efficient lighting, heating, and cooling systems, water-efficient plumbing, and use of renewable energy sources like solar and wind power.
Waste reduction: Healthcare facilities generate a significant amount of waste, including hazardous waste like medical supplies and chemicals. Healthcare organizations are implementing waste reduction programs to minimize waste generation and ensure safe disposal of hazardous materials. For example, the Cleveland Clinic implemented a recycling program that has reduced waste by over 6,000 tons per year.
Sustainable Healthcare Products: Sustainable healthcare products are becoming more common. Healthcare products, such as cleaning agents and medical devices, are becoming more environmentally friendly, biodegradable, and recyclable. In fact, the global market for sustainable healthcare products is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.3% from 2020 to 2027 according to a report by Allied Market Research. For example, companies like Johnson & Johnson are working to reduce their environmental impact by using more sustainable materials in their products.
Sustainable supply chain: Healthcare organizations are increasingly focused on ensuring that the products and services they use are sustainable and environmentally friendly. This includes purchasing products made from recycled or sustainable materials and selecting suppliers who have demonstrated a commitment to sustainability. According to a survey by Practice Greenhealth, 90% of healthcare organizations are prioritizing environmentally preferable purchasing.
Telemedicine: Telemedicine allows healthcare providers to deliver care remotely, reducing the need for patients to travel to healthcare facilities. This can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with transportation. Telemedicine has become increasingly popular, and the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated its adoption. According to a survey by Amwell, 22% of all physician visits in the United States were conducted virtually in 2020.
Green teams: Many healthcare organizations are forming green teams, composed of employees from various departments, to develop and implement sustainability initiatives. These teams can help to identify opportunities for improvement, develop sustainability goals, and track progress. A survey found that over 80% of healthcare organizations with green teams report on their sustainability efforts according to Practice Greenhealth.
Energy conservation: Healthcare facilities are implementing energy conservation measures, such as turning off lights and equipment when not in use, using energy-efficient appliances, and optimizing energy use in heating and cooling systems. For example, a study found that a hospital in Georgia saved $29,000 annually by using Energy Star certified medical equipment according to Energy Manager Today. Energy Star certified equipment can save healthcare facilities up to 50% on energy costs.
Sustainability Education and Awareness: Healthcare organizations are educating their staff, patients, and communities about sustainability, encouraging them to take action and adopt sustainable practices in their daily lives. According to Practice Greenhealth, 70% of healthcare organizations provide sustainability training to their staff.
These sustainability trends in healthcare demonstrate a growing awareness of the need for environmentally responsible practices in the industry. As healthcare organizations continue to adopt these practices, they will play an increasingly important role in reducing the industry's impact on the environment.