Greening the OR
Design and implement strategies that reduce energy use, supply costs, and waste generated in the operating room.
Operating rooms can drive big facilities’ cost savings and efficiency improvements through smart, incremental, sustainable practices. Even more important, it’s possible to make these changes while not only maintaining quality patient care but also supporting staff and environmental health.
Though a tiny percentage of a hospital’s total physical footprint, operating rooms have a huge impact on hospital budgets. Operating rooms, on average:
- Drive up to 60 percent of a hospital’s revenue
- Are responsible for 40 to 60 percent of the organization’s total supply costs
- Produce more than 30 percent of a facility’s waste and two-thirds of its regulated medical waste
- Can consume three to six times more energy per square foot than anywhere else in the facility
Despite a sound business case, one of the greatest challenges for greening the operating room can be convincing the surgical teams, who rely on empirical data and consistencies in structure and process, to consider changes in their respective practices. Practice Greenhealth member hospitals have learned that data, communication, and collaboration across disciplines is crucial to success, especially in the surgical setting.
Practice Greenhealth offers resources to help members develop proactive frameworks for undertaking Greening the OR strategies. Our goal is to provide step-by-step resources that make it simpler for any hospital to design, implement, and measure the success of efforts that reduce energy use, supply costs, and waste generated in the operating room.
Cleveland Clinic saved more than $4 million in 2017 through Practice Greenhealth’s Greening the OR strategies. Small hospitals can benefit too, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars through similar programs.
The Environmental Excellence Awards are the nation’s premier recognition program for environmental performance in the health care sector. The Circle of Excellence Awards celebrate hospitals who have not only earned an award for all around sustainability achievement, but who have also been identified as the top scoring programs for each category of sustainability.
The Greening the OR Circle acknowledges leadership in implementation and innovation in the surgical department. A number of practices in the OR were evaluated for this award, including: medical waste reduction and clinical plastics recycling, reformulation of OR kits, medical device reprocessing, use of reusable sterilization cases, and sustainable anesthesia practices along with other innovative programs in their operating rooms.
Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital*
Atlantic Health System - Overlook Medical Center*
Dartmouth Hitchcock Health
Harborview Medical Center*
Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota
Providence Portland Medical Center
VHA 23 St. Cloud VA Health Care System (St. Cloud, MN)*
*also a Top 25 honoree
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Practice Greenhealth is the health care sector’s go-to source for information, tools, data, resources, and expert technical support on sustainability initiatives that help hospitals and health systems meet their health, financial, and community goals.