Healthier Hospital Initiative Challenges Lead to Lower Costs, Improved Patient Health

The Healthier Hospitals Initiative's first annual report details how incorporating sustainability initiatives has helped its 370 member hospitals reduce their environmental footprint, lower costs and improve patient health.

The HHI, launched in April 2012, is a national campaign to improve the environmental health and sustainability in the healthcare sector. The report helps to quantify the benefits of environmentally-friendly initiatives by featuring the successes of participating hospitals over the past year in the six HHI "Challenge" areas: engaged leadership, healthier food, leaner energy, less waste, safer chemicals and smarter purchasing.

Overall successes of the program across all participating hospitals include over 50 million pounds of recycled materials, almost $32 million in savings from reprocessing single-use medical devices, nearly $9 million spent on local/sustainable food options and $19 million spent on PVC/DEHP-free medical products.

Individual hospitals also reported significant benefits from the initiative. Yale-New Haven (Conn.) Hospital saw cost savings of over $1.6 million after expanding its environmental impact program under HHI guidelines. Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colo., focused on energy use and was able to reduce CO2 emissions by 40,000 pounds, saving the hospital an estimated $13,797 annually. University of California San Francisco Medical Center improved staff and patient health without increasing costs by switching to Green Seal certified cleaning products.

This report is just a starting point for HHI. Gary Cohen, HHI's founder, said in a news release: "This report is a baseline from which we can move forward and continue to measure our future successes by encouraging hospitals to purchase more environmentally-preferable supplies, serve healthier foods, use less energy, reduce waste and more."

More Articles on Sustainability:

AHA Expands Resources on Reducing Hospitals' Environmental Footprints
Why Healthcare Leaders Cannot Afford to Ignore "Greening" Anymore
Advocate Health Care Receives Sustainability Award

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