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Practice Greenhealth and Johnson & Johnson Partner to Advance Sustainability in Health Care

Last month, the health care industry came together in Portland, Oregon for CleanMed 2015 – the nation’s premiere conference for sustainability in health care. The message at this year’s conference was clear: Within the health care industry, opportunities abound to lead the way for positive environmental impact. Johnson & Johnson and Practice Greenhealth sponsored a survey to glean insights from attendees on their facilities’ sustainability initiatives and challenges.  The survey elicited responses from more than 250 attendees, bringing to light findings related to waste management strategies, implementation of reprocessing programs, and sustainable purchasing.

The 277 survey respondents voiced there is room for improvement when it comes to the health care sector leveraging its purchasing power to buy more sustainable products and services – nearly 41 percent of respondents said the sector is doing “poorly” in this area, while 50 percent said the sector is doing a “good” job. Only five percent of respondents said the sector was doing “very well” in leveraging purchasing power to advance sustainability.

The survey also found overwhelming support among respondents for waste reduction strategies at their facilities. Ninety-three percent of respondents felt that waste reduction practices benefited their facilities, naming operating rooms and cafeterias as two places that they are zeroing in on for further waste reductions. Respondents cited financial savings, healthier environments for patients and staff, and reputational benefits as advantages of waste reduction initiatives, with financial savings emerging as the top cited benefit.

“Practice Greenhealth businesses and health care members know that preprocessing and the complexities of waste management are often the first focus of sustainability challenges,” said Jeffrey Brown, Executive Director, Practice Greenhealth. ”The response shows that making sustainability a health care quality imperative isn’t just the right thing to do—it’s a smart business decision. Bringing suppliers and purchasers together is key to the solution.”

Although 74 percent of respondents said their facility has a reprocessing program in place, the survey highlighted a few barriers that still exist. More than half of respondents felt their staff has not been effectively educated on reprocessing, and nearly 40 percent wish medical staff was more engaged in these waste reduction efforts. The survey also identified supply chain complexity and patient safety concerns as the biggest hurdles to implementing reprocessing programs at their facilities.

“At Sterilmed, we’re committed to applying insights like these to help our customers reduce waste, and costs, and work closely with hospitals to implement effective reprocessing programs,” said Keith Hoof, Marketing Director for Sterilmed, part of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies. “These survey results point to an opportunity to continue educating both medical staff and patients about the benefits of reprocessing.”

As we continue to lead the way for positive environmental impact, Johnson & Johnson and Practice Greenhealth invite GPOs, businesses and hospitals to further a more proactive and interactive process, to continue developing environmentally preferable purchasing specifications and requirements.

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