Hospitals operate every day of the year in order to treat patients and save lives. In the process, generate a great deal of waste. While some hospitals have taken measures to reduce their carbon footprint, there is still more that needs to be done to make healthcare facilities sustainable.
One of the most wasteful areas of a hospital is the operating room. One study suggests that the OR generates 30 percent of a hospital’s total waste, and 60 percent of a facility’s regulated medical waste or red bag waste.¹ Not only does this waste contribute to environmental issues, it is also extremely expensive for healthcare facilities as red bag waste costs 10-50x more than standard waste.
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center found that waste produced from a single surgical procedure can cost almost $1,000 on average.² This is money that could be better spent caring for patients and pursuing new research opportunities.
As a progressive leader in surgical fluid waste management solutions, Serres is dedicated to helping hospitals embrace more sustainable practices in their ORs. Here are some recommended steps for creating a greener OR:
- Create a team tasked with leading sustainability initiatives at your healthcare facility. These individuals should be committed to introducing more environmentally friendly protocols and procedures. They should meet regularly to discuss policy changes and ways to increase awareness about issues related to sustainability. The team should be empowered and supported by leadership to create new initiatives, and also held to specific goals.
- Consider utilizing reusable suction canisters with suction bags, rather than disposable canisters. Serres suction bags can be used as canister liners, which capture the fluid waste, rather than dispense it directly into the canister. At the end of procedure, rather than dismantling the entire canister set-up, staff can simply remove the plugged suction bag that lines the canister to prepare for disposal. The Serres suction bags can be placed a waste evacuator, called the Serres Nemo, and all of the waste is flushed from the suction bag directly into the sewer. This workflow both reduces costs and limits disposables to only the suction bag, which creates less waste than other methods.
- Prioritize the use of less plastic in the OR. Serres suction bags are designed to use less plastic compared to other solutions on the market. Less plastics means lighter products, which are easier to transport and store. This leads to less waste produced and greater cost savings. Additionally, all Serres suction bags and canisters are PVC free. Upon incineration PVC contributes to the level of dioxin, which is extremely toxic to humans and the environment.
- Pursue a certification with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). The LEED rating was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council to promote greener operations in healthcare facilities. Certification has shown to be associated with lower operating costs, conserving resources, and creating a healthier environment for patients and staff.³
Healthcare facilities are increasingly recognizing the benefits of pursuing more sustainable initiatives. With Serres solutions, healthcare facilities can lower their carbon footprint significantly compared to using other similar solutions and products. To learn more about how Serres can help your organization reach its sustainability goals, contact a Serres representative today.
- HealthTrust Purchasing Group. (2017, February 27). Leading the Way to a Greener Operating Room. Retrieved April 1, 2019, from https://healthtrustpg.com/healthcare-innovation/leading-way-greener-operating-room/
- Zygourakis, C. C.1,2,MD, Yoon, S.6, Valencia, V.2,3MPH, Boscardin, C.2,4PhD, Moriates, C.2,3MD, Gonzales, R.2,4,5MD, MSPH, & Lawton, M. T.1MD. (2017). Operating room waste: disposable supply utilization in neurosurgical procedures, Journal of Neurosurgery JNS, 126(2), 620-625. Retrieved Apr 1, 2019, from https://thejns.org/view/journals/j-neurosurg/126/2/article-p620.xml
- LEED green building certification. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://new.usgbc.org/leed