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Practice Greenhealth Opens “Virtual” Green Operating Room

Digital representation is a unique way to visualize and learn how operating rooms can reduce costs, increase efficiency and improve staff and patient safety

March 14, 2012(Reston, Virginia)—Practice Greenhealth opened the doors of the Virtual Green Operating Room (OR) today, a newly-created digital world that allows health care practitioners to learn about how the environmental impacts of operating rooms can be dramatically reduced.

Inside the Virtual Green OR, participants can view and learn about a variety of technologies, equipment and materials that reduce energy and water use and reduce impact on the environment and human health. In addition to the Green OR, Practice Greenhealth’s virtual world includes an auditorium for webinars and group meetings, providing opportunities for interactive training, real-time collaboration and the sharing of best practices.

“We have created a virtual world that allows us to teach and show different aspects of a green operating room, and that can be viewed and used by participants all around the world at the same time,” said Laura Wenger, Executive Director of Practice Greenhealth. “This world even provides opportunities for learning, events and social networking among health care practitioners, all with just a few computer strokes.”

The Virtual Green OR was modeled on many of the computer-based simulated environments used in computer games. It was designed to demonstrate the concrete ways that hospitals can reduce operating room impacts and costs, which are significant.

Hospitals overall are high users of energy, and operating rooms are by far the largest users of that energy. They are also a major consumer of resources and staff hours, using as much as 56 percent of a hospital’s total budget. In addition, operating rooms produce a disproportionate amount of waste—between 20 and 30 percent of a hospital’s total waste volume. Much of the nation’s operating room waste is disposed of as regulated medical waste, which costs between 10 and 15 times more in disposal fees than regular waste.

In addition, most operating room supplies are thrown out after just one use or even after being opened but not used, even though re-use may be an option.

The Virtual Green OR is one part of the Greening the OR ™Initiative, introduced by Practice Greenhealth in 2010. The initiative includes data analysis, research evaluation and the compiling of best practices to create information on a range of successful interventions for greener, more efficient operating rooms. These interventions include the reduction and segregation of regulated medical waste, reusable canister fluid management systems, single-use device reprocessingand OR kit reformulation, reusable surgical gowns and basins and medical plastics recycling.

To tour the Virtual Green OR, please contact Leslie Carlson, (503) 805-5560 or leslie@carlson-communications.com.

A video overview of the Virtual Green Operating Room can be viewed at:

About Practice Greenhealth

Practice Greenhealth is the nation’s leading membership and networking organization for institutions in healthcare that have made a commitment to sustainable, eco-friendly practices. To help hospitals run more efficient, environmentally-friendly operating rooms, Practice Greenhealth introduced the Greening the OR Initiative, which helps hospitals reduce environmental impact, reduce costs, increase efficiency and improve worker and patient safety. Sponsors of the Greening the OR Initiative include: BD, Cardinal Health, HCA Healthcare, HDR, Hospira, M+NLB, Medline, SRI Surgical, Stryker Sustainability Solutions, Velmed Inc., and Kimberly Clark.

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Practice Greenhealth is the nation’s leading membership and networking organization for institutions in the healthcare community that have made a commitment to sustainable, eco-friendly practices.

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