Creating eco-sustainable hospital facilities is possible
Do you think it is possible to create eco-sustainable hospital facilities? The answer is yes: there are already outstanding facilities whose example should be followed. Let’s discuss this in more detail supported by an article published on the website of the famous Philips multinational corporation, philips.com.
This week’s appointment on the Dispotech blog introduces an interesting and very up-to-date issue. Do you think it is possible to create eco-sustainable hospital facilities?
It’s a tricky question. Logic immediately makes us think that spheres such as the medical field require very high levels of sterilisation, and industrial quantities of disposable articles to ensure maximum safety to patients. The answer, consequently, would seem obvious to us: hospitals cannot be compatible with eco-sustainability. But what if we were to tell you that that’s not how things are, on the contrary, there are outstanding facilities whose example should be followed?
Let’s discuss this in more detail supported by an article written by Jan Kimpen and published on the website of the famous multinational Philips, at philips.com.
Kimpen - formerly CEO of a large hospital, now head of the global clinical team at Philips - has always been committed to implementing eco-sustainable practices throughout his career. How can you provide impeccable and safe care for patients and, at the same time, have special consideration for the environment?
First of all, it must be said that the Netherlands has always been sensitive to this issue and has applied solar panels on rooftops, reduced waste production and programmed a system for saving.
Philips is actively engaged in respecting nature, making every effort possible and at the same time, offering the best care for patients. In particular, the company complies with the sustainability goals recommended by the United Nations which regard responsible production and consumption, actions for fighting climate change and the well-being of citizens.
Below follow, according to Dr Kimpen and his colleague Robert Metzke, 3 reasons for creating eco-sustainable hospital spaces.
1) Caring for patients also means caring for the environment.
Several studies have revealed the shocking quantity of waste created by the healthcare industry: we are talking about 13 kg of waste per hospital bed per day. Since the Covid-19 pandemic began to set the pace of our daily lives, the consumption of disposable medical devices, masks (it isn’t unusual to see them thrown away on the ground, the street), gloves, etc. has increased exponentially.
This quantity of waste is no longer sustainable – a play on words that is not very funny. There is an urgent need to find solutions to make hospital facilities more sustainable, and this can be done by world health leaders focusing on a few key issues, such as:
• more durable product design;
• giving more space to the circular economy and to business models that provide for it;
• increasing sustainable operations for health and safety on a corporate level.
These and other issues were discussed in the Future Health Index 2021 report, in which emerged that the majority of countries are committed to providing more eco-sustainable care in the coming years. The nations most committed will be France and the Netherlands.
2) Technology supports eco-sustainability.
Very often the most interesting and up-to-date technological innovations and eco-sustainable initiatives go hand in hand. One of the priorities for safeguarding our planet is undoubtedly taking advantage of products that can be reused several times, meaning, not disposable.
Another way of helping the environment is by consolidating telehealth, the spread of which leads to lower emissions as it reduces travel to and from the hospital. Also greatly needed is the increased digitalisation of processes – which allows for, among other things, more accessible care for more people.
It is once more the Future Health Index 2021 report which gives us the comforting news that sustainability together with technology is a worldwide priority.
3) Quality healthcare pathways reduce environmental impact.
Up until now, the discussion has been about how to reduce the amount of waste and the volume of emissions into the atmosphere. A new clinical approach and a new way of thinking of healthcare pathways can also make the difference.
As mentioned previously, the healthcare industry produces a frightening amount of waste and emissions - even greater than the shipping and aviation sectors. The pandemic has increased the need for patients to be hospitalised and/or treated. This why Philips is working on new ways to shorten hospital stays, where possible, in order to:
• reduce the waste accumulated by hospitals;
• reduce carbon emissions;
• improve home medical care through technology.
These are the primary goals that the world’s healthcare industry should set in order to tangibly help safeguard the environment. While several cutting-edge hospital facilities are pioneering in eco-sustainable models, the hope of the international community is that soon hospitals the world over will be able to adopt strategies that are good for nature.
What do you think about this article? Contact Dispotech and have your say.