Sustainability in Healthcare is More Important Than Ever

Healthcare Finance News reported that according to a recent survey, “more than half of U.S. hospitals now make sustainability a factor in purchasing decisions.” Even more importantly, the survey found that over 80 percent of hospitals in the U.S. expect to engage in sustainability purchasing within two years.

And that’s not surprising given that a different study from The Commonwealth Fund (also reported in Healthcare Finance News), found that hospital sustainability efforts could save the healthcare industry up to $5.4 billion over five years and $15 billion over 10 years.

That’s a lot of dollars.

The upshot is that making an investment in sustainability pays off. Thinking about the future, rather than the short term, can deliver big results. The CEO of Gundersen Lutheran Health System, a member of the Healthier Hospitals Initiative, noted that an investment of $2 million has saved his system $1 million per year.

But, there’s another important consideration: patients. As healthcare organizations seek to become “greener,” patients are taking notice. Because of the great deal of publicity that both healthcare reform and the environment are receiving, considerable attention is being paid to how those two are interrelated. Of course, there is also great interest in healthcare being cost effective and therefore accessible. Sustainability initiatives underscore an opportunity to reduce costs and “do good.”

According to John Frey, “America’s Sustainability Executive” at Hewlett-Packard, as healthcare costs have become a topic of general conversation, patients are interested in “whether hospitals and healthcare providers… are doing things to help minimize that cost.”

MedSpeed, a Practice Greenhealth member for the past two years, is very interested in this intersection. If we can be better financial stewards while protecting our environment, well, that is a no brainer.

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