Green surgical practices for health care

Gifty Kwakye, Gabriel A. Brat, Martin A. Makary

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations

Abstract

The objective of this study was to identify leading practices to promote environmentally friendly and efficient efforts in the provision of surgical health care. Health care is the second leading contributor to waste in the United States. Despite widespread enthusiasm for "going green" in the US economy, little substantive information is available to the medical community, to our knowledge. We explore safe and efficient strategies for hospitals and providers to protect the environment while delivering high-quality care. We performed a systematic review of the literature using relevant PubMed search terms and surveyed a panel of hospital managers and chief executive officers of health care organizations pursuing green initiatives. Recommendations were itemized and reviewed by a 7-member panel to generate a consensus agreement. We identified 43 published articles and used interview data from the panel. The following 5 green recommendations for surgical practices were identified: operating room waste reduction and segregation, reprocessing of single-use medical devices, environmentally preferable purchasing, energy consumption management, and pharmaceutical waste management. The medical community has a large opportunity to implement green practices in surgical units. These practices can provide significant benefits to the health care community and to the environment. Additional research and advocacy are needed to further explore green practices in health care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-136
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Surgery
Volume146
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2011

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