Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Going green in the hospital: Recycling medical equipment saves money, reduces waste and is safe

Date:
February 26, 2010
Source:
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Summary:
Wider adoption of the practice of recycling medical equipment -- including laparoscopic ports and durable cutting tools typically tossed out after a single use -- could save hospitals hundreds of millions of dollars annually and curb trash at medical centers, the second-largest waste producers in the United States after the food industry.

Wider adoption of the practice of recycling medical equipment -- including laparoscopic ports and durable cutting tools typically tossed out after a single use -- could save hospitals hundreds of millions of dollars annually and curb trash at medical centers, the second-largest waste producers in the United States after the food industry.

The recommendation, made in an analysis by Johns Hopkins researchers in the March issue of the journal Academic Medicine, noted that with proper sterilization, recalibration and testing, reuse of equipment is safe.

"No one really thinks of good hospitals as massive waste producers, but they are," says lead author Martin Makary, M.D., M.P.H., a surgeon and associate professor of public health at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "There are many things hospitals can do to decrease waste and save money that they are not currently doing."

Hospitals toss out everything from surgical gowns and towels to laparoscopic ports and expensive ultrasonic cutting tools after a single use. In operating rooms, some items that are never even used are thrown away -- single-use devices that are taken out of their packaging must be tossed out because they could have been contaminated. Selecting such good devices for resterilization and retesting could decrease the amount of needless waste from hospitals.

And, the researchers say, hospitals could procure more items designed to be used safely more than once after being sterilized.

Hospitals, they add, are increasingly attracted to reprocessing because recycled devices can cost half as much as new equipment. Only about a quarter of hospitals in the United States used at least one type of reprocessed medical device in 2002, and while the number is growing, the practice is not yet widespread, they say. Banner Health in Phoenix, they write, saved nearly $1.5 million in 12 months from reprocessing operating room supplies such as compression sleeves, open but unused devices, pulse oximeters and more.

Safety concerns with reprocessing include possible malfunction of devices, the risk of transmitting infections, and the ethical dilemma that reprocessing presents given the absence of patient consent to usage of such devices in their treatment. The government requires all reprocessed equipment to be labeled as such, along with the name of the reprocessing company. A recent study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office concluded reprocessed devices do not present an increased health risk over new devices.

"These devices are safe, but it's a public relations challenge," Makary says. "Some people don't like the idea that they're being treated with equipment that has been used before. But these reprocessed devices are as good as new since the testing standards for reuse are impeccable and there have been no patient safety problems in our analysis."

The other authors of the commentary are Gifty Kwakye and Peter J. Pronovost, M.D., Ph.D., both of Johns Hopkins.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Going green in the hospital: Recycling medical equipment saves money, reduces waste and is safe." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100224183113.htm>.
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. (2010, February 26). Going green in the hospital: Recycling medical equipment saves money, reduces waste and is safe. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100224183113.htm
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Going green in the hospital: Recycling medical equipment saves money, reduces waste and is safe." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100224183113.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

AP (July 22, 2014) Sounding alarms about the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, CDC Director Tom Frieden warned Tuesday if the global community does not confront the problem soon, the world will be living in a devastating post-antibiotic era. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins