Sustainablity: Can Sustainablity Reduce Healthcare Costs?

Sustainability can help health care facilities reduce operating costs which can potentially lead to cost savings for everyone.

Organizations like Practice Greenhealth, Healthcare Without Harm and the Healthier Hospitals Initiative contend that sustainability initiatives can generate billions in savings. In fact, a 2012 study sponsored by two of the three organizations and frequently cited by all of these organizations found that green and sustainable programs could generate more than $5.4 billion in savings in five years and $15 billion in a decade.

A good place to start? Energy bills, according to that study, because hospitals can spend between $1 million and $3 million a year on that alone.

Other areas cited in a special report sponsored by Johnson & Johnson and Knowledge@Wharton can include the following:

Green building construction and retrofits, smart lighting strategies, such as occupancy sensors and use of LEDs, effective energy management, and tapping into renewable sources such as solar and wind

Developing effective sustainability metrics, then implementing them by identifying and prioritizing greener purchases, including energy-efficient medical imaging machines

Phasing out toxic and hazardous substancesand cleaning products;

Reducing waste through recycling programs, reduced packaging and reuse of medical devices;

Improving hospital food service through increased access to locally sourced and sustainably grown meal options. The relationship between eating well and health is clear, since poor nutrition accounts for about $71 billion in yearly medical costs