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Conservation in Medicine: 4 Ways Healthcare is Turning Green

High energy demand, the need for absolute cleanliness and slim budgets make it difficult for hospitals and other medical care providers to go green.  Here are four ways to do so.

Manage Waste

Although you’re choices are clearly limited when it comes to disposing of medical waste and certain chemicals, there are other types of waste disposal you can control. Place paper recycling bins throughout your facility and make sure cans, bottles and other containers can be easily recycled in break rooms, cafeterias and other areas. Express your environmental concerns to vendors who supply medical equipment and pharmaceuticals to your facility. Let them know that you would like them to minimize packaging whenever possible.

Go Digital

To avoid the use of the chemicals that develop traditional x-rays and the massive amounts of paper written reports generate, many medical facilities have gone paperless. Patient reports, lab results and diagnostic imaging can all be captured by computer and sent electronically to those needing the information. These digital results reach their destination far more quickly than traditional paper reports and help cut down on the amount of paper used in clinics and hospitals.

More and more healthcare training programs such as a master of science in nursing are teaching their students about the software programs that replace traditional charting and reporting so they can hit the ground running upon graduation.

Stay Local

One great way to reduce your carbon footprint is to source local food and supplies whenever possible. Locally grown and manufactured items travel much shorter distances to reach you, reducing the amount of fossil fuels required to ship or fly them to your door. You may be surprised by just how much food, medication, furniture and supplies you can find right in your own backyard.

Watch Your Water

Inpatient hospitals and treatment centers need large amounts of water, but there are some ways to reduce water consumption. Consider installing toilets and shower heads that reduce water usage and get creative with water collection. Placing rain barrels on the property where it is legal to do so can provide adequate water for landscaping and watering indoor plants. High efficiency dishwashers and washing machines also measurably reduce water consumption.

Of course, these four suggestions are only a start. There are many other steps your facility can take on the path to environmental consciousness. From installing solar energy to reducing cleaning chemical usage, there are many ways your facility can start to turn itself green. A great way to find green solutions it to put together a team of Earth-friendly staffers and task them with developing new methodologies that take a greener approach.

Anica Oaks, the author of this article, is a freelance writer and web enthusiast.

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