Green Practices Could Reduce Surgical Waste, Cost

Researchers suggest five recommendations for environmentally friendly surgical practices

FRIDAY, Feb. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have identified strategies for implementing environmentally friendly practices in operating rooms and other hospital facilities that could lead to much lower health care costs without risks to patient safety; their recommendations have been published in the February issue of the Archives of Surgery.

To identify leading practices that promote environmentally sound efforts in surgical care, Gifty Kwakye, M.D., M.P.H., of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues reviewed the literature and surveyed hospital managers and chief executive officers of health care organizations pursuing green initiatives.

The researchers identified five recommendations for implementing environmentally friendly surgical practices: the reduction and segregation of operating room waste, the reprocessing of single-use medical items, environmentally conscious purchasing decisions, management of energy consumption, and the management of pharmaceutical waste.

"The medical community has a large opportunity to implement green practices in surgical units. These practices can provide significant benefits to the health care community and to the environment. Additional research and advocacy are needed to further explore green practices in health care," the authors write.

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