Practice Greenhealth Announces Launch of Research Study to Document Impact of Healthcare Sustainability Best Practices, Sp

RESTON, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Practice Greenhealth today announced the launch of a groundbreaking study to investigate and document the impact of sustainability “best practices” on patient and worker outcomes and lowering costs, which will be funded by global medical technology company BD. The project is a combined effort of the recently organized Health Care Research Collaborative.

The Health Care Research Collaborative is a partnership of Practice Greenhealth, the nation’s leading member-based organization dedicated to sustainability in healthcare; the international advocacy organization Health Care Without Harm; and the Healthier Hospitals Initiative, a coalition of leading U.S. health systems committed to improving sustainability and safety across the healthcare sector. HHI founders include: Advocate Health Care, Catholic Healthcare West, Hospital Corporation of America, Inc, Kaiser Permanente, MedStar Health, and Partners Healthcare Systems, Inc. HHI recently developed a Healthier Hospitals Agenda that uses evidence-based design and research data to recommend nine categories of sustainability interventions, and specific actions within each category.

The year-long study, conducted by the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) School of Public Health, will collect comprehensive data from hospitals around the country that are currently implementing the HHI Agenda recommendations or otherwise implementing comprehensive sustainability actions, including: design and operate healthier and safer facilities for patients and employees; purchase safer and more sustainable products and materials, and support the use of safer chemicals and green chemistry; promote nutritious, sustainable food choices; reduce the consumption of energy; conserve water; minimize waste and emissions; address pharmaceutical waste; improve transportation strategies for patients and staff; and create a culture in which sustainability is linked to patient and worker safety.

“BD is pleased to support this long-needed research toward developing data that could clearly demonstrate the benefits of sustainability efforts on health and economic outcomes,” said Glenn Barbi, BD Vice President of Global Sustainability. “We are committed to providing affordable, accessible medical technologies that help address fundamental healthcare needs. Today, BD also recognizes that the connections between human health and a healthy environment are inseparable. For this reason, we are committed to reducing our environmental footprint and supporting our customers and suppliers to do the same.”

Data suggests that sustainable practices in health care can lead to better patient outcomes, fewer work-related injuries, a cleaner environment, and significant cost savings. However, the evidence of such benefits is mainly anecdotal. Research is needed that examines the impact of comprehensive sustainability interventions in hospitals on patient and worker outcomes and cost savings, identifying the most effective components.

For example, system-wide conservation practices in a hospital network cut water use by 20 to 30 percent, saving $100,000 a year for some facilities. Reductions in hospitals’ energy use of 18 to 20 percent are achievable using current standard technology coupled with minor capital expenditures costing one to two percent. One hospital reported that workers compensation claims went down after it implemented a greener cleaning program. When Kaiser Permanente launched an Environmentally Preferred Purchasing Program, they saved $20 million in one year while opening up the market to more affordable, healthier products. HCA implemented a medical device reprocessing program in 2009, saving $30 million across its system with only 20% compliance. In terms of design, access to daylight in hospitals has been linked with reduced depression among patients, reduced length of stay, and reduced intake of pain medication. One U.S. study found consistent positive correlation between 17 greener buildings and staff recruitment and retention. If these savings can be spread across the entire sector, the healthcare cost savings will result in billions of dollars per year.

Organization staffing

The Project Director is Professor Peter Orris, MD, MPH, FACP, FACOEM; Professor and Director of the Occupational Health Services Institute of the University of Illinois School of Public Health, a component of UIC’s World Health Organization Collaborating Center. Dr. Orris will serve as senior research director, with primary responsibility for the study design, analysis of data, and report preparation.

Susan Kaplan, JD, Research Director, Health Care Research Collaborative will serve as Co- Investigator. Ms. Kaplan has 19 years of experience in environmental and public health policy, practice and research, and holds appointments in UIC’s public health and urban planning departments, as well as its environmental institute. Her current grants include a five-year research and technical assistance grant from U.S. EPA focused on sustainable redevelopment of Brownfield sites.

Blair Sadler, JD, will serve as Co-Investigator. Mr. Sadler is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Associate Clinical Professor of the UCSD School of Medicine, and an Executive in Residence at the UCSD Rady School of Management. He served as President and CEO of Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego from 1980 through 2006.

Vanessa Assibey-Mensah, MPH, of the Health Care Research Collaborative, will serve as Project Coordinator. A recent graduate of the UIC School of Public Health, she serves as coordinator for CREHM, a multi-institutional consortium that conducts research and education on environmental reproductive hazards in minority communities in Chicago.

About Practice Greenhealth:

Practice Greenhealth is the nation’s leading membership and networking organization for institutions in healthcare that have made a commitment to sustainable, eco-friendly practices. To learn more about Practice Greenhealth, visit:


Practice Greenhealth
Mary Lisi, 888-379-6664
[email protected]

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  Virginia

INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:   Practice Management  Health  Hospitals  Environment  Research  Science  General Health  Managed Care