Environmental Sustainability Can Save Billions

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    Institute for Healthcare Improvement
    Nov. 12, 2002

    Environmental Sustainability Can Save Billions

    "Greener" hospital operations could save the health care sector $15 billion over the next 10 years, according to a new study sponsored by the Healthier Hospitals Initiative and Health Care Without Harm.

    The research, conducted with grants from the Commonwealth Fund and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, tracked sustainability practices at nine hospitals and health systems over five years, and revealed significant savings in waste management, energy use, and operating room supply procurement. "This study turns on its head the belief that introducing environmental sustainability measures increases operating costs," said IHI Senior Fellow Blair L. Sadler, JD, one of the study's authors and former CEO of Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego. Sustainability measures can also potentially reduce harm to patients, as well as free up resources for investments in improving patient care and community wellness programs. Sadler and other authors urge CEOs and CFOs to seriously consider adopting more robust environmental programs at their organizations.
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