Reliance on single-use devices leads to supply chain disruptions, HHS report says

A Department of Health and Human Services report found single-use medical devices account for most of hospital greenhouse gas emissions and lead to supply chain disruptions.

"Reliance on single-use disposable medical supplies and devices not only leaves health systems vulnerable to supply chain disruptions, as seen with the COVID-19 pandemic, but they are frequently cited as containing higher life cycle emissions per use compared with equivalent application of reusable alternatives," the report stated.

The report is focused on reducing emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050, in line with goals set by the Biden administration.

A report released in June 2022 by the Association of Medical Device Reprocessors sheds additional light on the impact of single-use devices. It found:

  • Hospitals could save an additional $2.28 billion by maximizing their use of reprocessed SUDs.
  • Over 186 million devices could have been reprocessed, but only 31 million devices labeled for “single-use” were.
  • Currently, over 9,000 healthcare facilities use reprocessed devices. 

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