How to Prevent Healthcare Waste in Your Hospital

Healthcare waste is one of the most damaging types of waste that exists in the environment. Without proper waste management, hospitals and medical facilities can create a harmful environment and compromise quality of care for patients. If doctors and healthcare administrators do not properly plan for ways to eliminate and reduce healthcare waste, their environment can run amuck and potentially harm patient care. Consider these tips on how to prevent healthcare waste in your hospital:

Order wisely

Many healthcare administrators will order products for a hospital without truly considering what might go to waste. If administrators need advice, they can work directly with a healthcare waste management company to determine what products they should order and in what quantities. It is critical for administrators and physicians to watch what they use and how much they throw out to help them understand their own waste and, consequently, how to avoid wasting those supplies. They should be mindful the shelf life of various products so they know which supplies to use first and how to properly preserve them. In addition, administrators should see if there are smaller surgical packs they could invest in that might be more cost effective if surgeons are not completely using their surgical packs.

Recycle cleaning materials

Many hospitals purchase disposable cleaning items out of fear of spreading germs to patients. While the hospital may stay clean, it spends more money on cleaning goods and collects more waste. Instead, hospital and medical facilities should use reusable cleaning goods, which do the same job with less waste. Of course, certain cleaning items, such as handiwipes, should always be thrown away, but other items don’t need to be. For instance, instead of using disposable mopping pads, janitors can use washable mop heads. Janitors can also use refillable containers for cleaning solutions instead of continuously buying new products.

Reuse medical materials

Like some cleaning products, there are items that simply cannot be reused without compromising quality of care. Other items, such use washable medical scrubs, can be safely reused instead of purchasing disposable scrubs. As long as proper sanitation protocol is followed, items such as sterilization trays, bed pans, water pitchers, linens, and bed pads on patients’ beds can all be washed and reused.

Work with a healthcare waste management company

Many administrators do not know how much they are wasting until they sit down and do the math. That is why planning is so critical when it comes to discovering the right healthcare waste management solutions. Administrators should set a few goals for the hospital before contacting a waste management company in order to have a framework to work within. Once those goals are clear, a waste management company can help administrators find solutions to meet them, such as going through medical product order forms and asking about recycling policies. If your products can be recycled, a waste management company can help find the markets necessary to sell these items. They can also work directly with medical staff to help them understand better ways to reduce healthcare waste and take proactive measures they to help the overall cause.

For more information about reducing healthcare waste, please download our free eBook Process Improvement in Healthcare.

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