A Healthy Environment for Patients and Caregivers Starts with Medical Waste Management

Generally, when people notice a medical waste management system, it’s not working properly—and that’s a problem. As an essential and often behind-the-scenes service, the proper disposal of regulated medical waste is critical for maintaining a safe and efficient healthcare environment. Healthcare facilities that take the time and effort to develop a well-planned medical waste management system can help ensure that providers and patients do not have to give the safe disposal of medical waste a second thought.

Supporting a safe and efficient workplace

Healthcare practitioners (HCPs) are under more stress than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly three in four providers reported that the pandemic has had a negative impact on their sense of safety at work, according to Stericycle’s 2021 Healthcare Workplace Safety Trend Report. More than 70% of those surveyed are burned out and exhausted. Meanwhile, survey respondents indicated that staff turnover has risen between 18% and 30% in key clinical departments.

To help combat these issues, hospitals and health systems should demonstrate a commitment to a safe and efficient working environment. Throughout the pandemic, healthcare industry partners have focused on innovation to create new solutions that support health systems and providers and allow them to focus on what matters most – the patient. Healthcare organizations should collaborate with these partners, like Stericycle, and seize every opportunity available to help make their work environments safer and more efficient.

Making the effort to improve waste management processes can make a substantial difference for HCPs and their workplace environment.

Building waste management into hospital workflows

Safe and responsible management of regulated medical waste can help hospitals and healthcare systems run more efficiently and effectively. Stericycle’s report found that HCPs truly care about these issues: 93% of responding providers indicated that they believe medical waste management is an integral element in the day-to-day functioning of their practices.

Designed to meet customers’ needs, Stericycle developed a new line of SafeShield™ medical waste containers in different sizes to fit into current hospital and provider workflows.

The new containers are exclusively coated with Cupron®, a copper-based antimicrobial protectant that can help prevent the growth of bacteria, fungi, mold and mildew. They also feature an integrated lid that closes securely and eliminates lid misplacement as well as a smooth interior finish and built-in drainage ports to make the containers easier to clean. SafeShieldTM containers are also reusable, which can help healthcare organizations using single-use containers positively impact the environment by reducing their landfill waste.

Show healthcare employees that you care about the environment

HCPs also care about the impact of medical waste on the environment. The increased amount of healthcare waste generated in the care of COVID-19 patients has put further pressure on hospitals to reduce the environmental impacts associated with their waste. Currently, only 54% of HCPs surveyed believe that their organization is doing enough to reduce the environmental impact of inappropriate biohazardous waste management, according to the Stericycle report.

Stericycle is committed to helping reduce environmental impacts. SafeShieldTM containers are reusable, nestable and stackable, making them easier to clean, store and transport. The containers are also durable, with reinforced handles that help withstand heavy loads. As these new containers enter the market, Stericycle is aiming to recycle decommissioned containers to help reduce landfill waste.

All of these features are beneficial for HCPs, healthcare organizations and, most of all, patients.

Improving the patient experience

Waste management is an important component of the patient experience; a key area of focus as HCPs continue to transition toward value-based care. Patients expect to see a clean and healthy environment when they enter a healthcare facility. If a waste management program isn’t working properly, patients will notice.

The patient experience is also about more than just immediate surroundings. The more time and attention healthcare workers have to spend cleaning and organizing their environment to keep it safe, the less time they have to focus directly on patients. The more HCPs can focus their attention on patients, the better experience they can provide.

When administrators prioritize medical waste management, clinicians don’t have to spend precious time and energy doing the same. Overall, that can contribute to a cleaner, safer environment for healthcare workers and patients alike.

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