Healthcare’s Move Toward Sustainability

Author: Rene Garcia


The healthcare industry is expanding, and with this expansion comes more and more pressure for companies to follow sustainable practices. In addition, managing all organizations involved in the healthcare supply chain becomes an increasingly difficult task. Healthcare companies are realizing that they need third-party assistance to evaluate potential partners in order to maintain compliance with industry standards.

According to advocacy group Practice Greenhealth, hospitals emit approximately 8 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, making them the second greatest commercial energy user behind commercial food services. Hospitals also produce more than 4.67 million tons of waste every year and use 7 percent of the country's commercial water supply. As hospitals look to reduce their environmental impact, they turn to sustainability practices, which can also save them money.

“The healthcare industry over the last five years has significantly changed,” says Steve Sawyer, an expert in supply chain management and procurement. “Healthcare in the US has recognized they need help in non-medical service areas.” One important area is cost savings by reducing energy consumption.

"The operating rooms have a huge environmental footprint. They use 30 percent of the supplies for the entire hospital," says Cecilia Lynn, director of sector performance and recognition for Practice Greenhealth. By observing sustainability processes in operating rooms, a hospital can save approximately 25,000 dollars each year.

Sustainability in the Supply Chain

Johnson & Johnson, a large manufacturer of healthcare products, has taken steps in the last few years to satisfy the growing need for sustainability in the healthcare industry. Partnering with Harris Poll, Johnson & Johnson surveyed healthcare professionals throughout their supply chain to gauge the importance of sustainability to their professions. The responses were very encouraging.

Among the respondents, 78% said that sustainability initiatives protect the staff. 69% agreed that sustainability makes good business sense, while 60% said that sustainability is important when choosing a hospital. Most importantly, 55% said that sustainability improves health outcomes. The move toward a more sustainable healthcare industry is undeniable, but hospitals and medical product manufacturers are only two organizations in a much larger supply chain. To meet their sustainability goals, healthcare companies must have visibility of the contractors, vendors, and suppliers they work with. If their supply chain partners are not also implementing sustainable practices they risk damage to their brand and reputation.

Supply Chain Management Software for Healthcare

With increasing demand for healthcare as barriers to access are lowered, the healthcare industry is growing every day. According to Sawyer, healthcare organizations are starved for a single solution for (among many things) regulatory compliance, sustainability, and supply chain management.

Avetta’s supply chain management software helps businesses identify and mitigate risk within their supply chain through contractor prequalification, document management, auditing, employee-level qualification and training, insurance verification and business intelligence. When the well-being and lives of patients are at stake, the margin for error is very slim, and choosing to work with the wrong supplier can be catastrophic. Avetta's supply chain management solutions help healthcare organizations to avoid making potentially costly mistakes.

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