Today we celebrate #WorldHealthDay and we want to bring attention to the healthcare industry and share some great ways we can reduce waste and make it more environmentally friendly.
Digital health records
Did you know that our overall use of paper has risen 400% in the past four decades? An estimated 26% of solid waste garbage is paper and paper products. As a healthcare industry, we can do more to minimize our paper use and waste.
Switch to electronic health records (EHR) systems. You could also invest in ipads or tablets to minimize paper. Digital records can also help you keep patient data more secure, easily share it with collaborating clinicians and practitioners, and provide a system of back-ups in case original paper records are destroyed or lost.
Telemedicine has grown significantly since the start of COVID. It saves you and your patients time and you can often schedule more appointments than in-person ones because you don’t have to add time at the end of each appointment to sanitize exam rooms after each use. For patients who need regular wellness checks, telemedicine is a great option to triage patients to see who actually needs to come in for an in-person appointment or who might need a home visit.
In the US alone, it’s estimated that doctors make over 10.1 million visits each year to nursing facilities and that costs over $1.3 billion every year. So, in addition to the time savings with telemedicine options, you’ll also save a significant amount of money that you can reinvest into patient care programs, more digital health initiatives, or to invest in emerging green technology and systems.
Local foods and products
Another sustainable trend is to purchase locally made foods and products. Your facility can actually provide more nutritious meals by purchasing from local farms (foods that have to travel longer distances lose their nutrients).
Look for local businesses and farms that you can support and you’ll be doing huge service to your patients, as well as the environment.
How can you make healthcare more eco-conscious? By doing your part to minimize paper waste, implementing technology to provide digital or telehealth appointments for non-critical patients, and by supporting and offering local food and produce in your facility.
Being more eco-conscious can also contribute to the comfort your patients feel while in your care. Another great way to make them physically comfortable is with a specially made foam or gel medical-grade mattress from Essential Medical Products.