How can hospitals be more green?

25th November 2021

The healthcare industry is a huge contributor to global waste annually. This is why it is crucial for healthcare organizations to adopt sustainability practices into their procurement decisions. Find out what you can change to make a significant impact.

In recent years many people will have thought that sustainability initiatives were a fad or phase. But with the global climate crisis worsening, sustainability is not a trend that people will soon forget about.
In order to tackle sustainability, a change in businesses approach is required and it is necessary for organizations to adopt and adapt to stay competitive. This is no different in the healthcare industry, as it is responsible for nearly 5% of all greenhouse gas emissions globally1.

Why it is important for hospitals to be more green?

In fact, it is crucial for healthcare organizations to adopt sustainability practices into their procurement decisions. In the US, it is estimated that hospitals generate more than 5 million tons of waste annually2. A survey conducted across four Mayo Clinic locations across the United States found that single-use plastics made up at least 20% of medical waste generated in US hospitals3.

To put this into perspective, according to the non-profit organization Health Care Without Harm if healthcare were a country, it would be the fifth largest contributor of greenhouse gases on the planet. That’s astronomical and something more must be done.

How can greener products help healthcare ?

That being said, in the US several organizations are calling for greener products. In early 2016, Practice Greenhealth, Healthcare Without Harm and four leading health systems came together to create Greenhealth Exchange, an organization that makes buying sustainable products and services much easier. This is a step in the right direction, but more must be done at procurement level.

How can TriMedika help with sustainability ?

At TriMedika, we believe in going zero by contributing to sustainable initiatives. TRITEMP™, our non-contact medical grade thermometer uses zero single use plastic probe covers and is therefore a more sustainable alternative.

Although there are a variety of medical-grade thermometers available in the marketplace, many of these are traditional contact thermometers (tympanic, axilla, rectal). As these methods of temperature measurement make contact with areas of the body that pose significant infection risk, they must be used in conjunction with single-use plastic probe covers.

Sustainability - Image of Double Decker bus showing amount of plastic caps

A 900-bed hospital takes up to 3 million temperature readings per year4. That’s 3 million single use plastic probe covers used, about the same volume as a double decker bus.

Not only are plastic probe covers expensive to purchase but they are also expensive to dispose of. Due to the fact they are deemed infectious medical waste, they must be incinerated.

By switching to TRITEMP™, hospitals can reduce the amount of plastic waste and help toward overall healthcare sustainability goals.

Small changes can have a significant impact.

There are signs that sustainability is growing in importance among healthcare institutions as demonstrated by stricter purchasing criteria. Some healthcare organizations have adopted Environmentally Preferred Purchasing (EPP) programs while others have created Sustainability Scorecards. However, the problem is that this has only been implemented by a small number of organizations. To make a real difference, changes need to be made by the majority.

More can and should be done.

Medical devices such as TRITEMP™ are a simple and easy way that hospitals can reduce plastic consumption. To learn more about TRITEMP™ and how our non-contact thermometer can help your hospital toward its sustainability goals, please visit https://trimedika.com/products-tritemp-non-contact-thermometer/ or email jcromie@trimedika.com https://www.youtube.com/embed/zso1sNhgRTI?feature=oembed

FAQ’s

Are thermometers sustainable?

Not all thermometers are sustainable. Any thermometer which requires physical contact in a healthcare setting will use plastic probe covers for infection control purposes. Unfortunately, this use of plastic consumables is incredibly wasteful. In a 900-bed hospital, roughly 2-3 million temperatures will be taken every year, which amounts to 2-3 million plastic caps used. By switching to TRITEMP™ non-contact thermometer, zero probe covers are required.

Do TRITEMP™ thermometers help reduce plastic waste?

With no need for plastic probe covers, TRITEMP™ thermometers will help hospitals meet their agendas for sustainability. Non-contact thermometers such as TRITEMP™ require zero plastic consumables, and offer a 2-year breakage guarantee on all devices. The lifetime value is clear.

References

1 https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/10.1377/hlthaff.2020.01247
2 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002961018303994
3 https://practicegreenhealth.org/topics/waste/waste-0
4 https://www.henleysmed.com/tritemp-non-contact-thermometer-for-healthcare-professionals-2

Discover more about TriMedika:

TriMedika is an innovative medical technology company that provides the most accurate clinical devices for hospitals worldwide. The first product to market is TRITEMP™, a precision engineered, hospital-grade non-contact thermometer sold in 21 countries internationally and over 1500 hospitals.

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