Last years pandemic only helped to open our eyes to the relevance of healthcare, even as we continue to thrive in technological advancements. Over the past year more individuals have reassessed what is important to them and what they make be able to do without. And just as individuals have, businesses should do the same. Something that businesses within and around healthcare should be able to significantly reduce is their medical waste.
Even as we have dealt with the pandemic – with the mass administration of vaccines, another issue is inherently becoming realized: medical waste. We have not been paying much attention to it, and that is why it is a huge problem.
According to a report by the United Nations, over 2.12 billion tons of waste are disposed of yearly. While commercial and industrial waste takes up a massive chunk of that staggering figure, we cannot ignore medical waste.
Medical waste comprises the waste generated by medical laboratories, biomedical, and healthcare research facilities. While most of these medical wastes is non-hazardous, others are hazardous in nature. If improperly managed, these wastes contaminate the environment, waste workers, healthcare staff, and even patients. As waste generation continues to increase, so do expenses to manage them appropriately.
Thus, we can no longer downplay the need to manage and reduce medical waste. But how do you effectively reduce these wastes?
We have curated some of the best ways your business can reduce these wastes. Check them out:
Create A Waste Management Plan
The first step your business should take towards medical waste reduction is to develop a formal plan. This plan forms the basis of your business’ waste management and disposal. When creating this plan the goal is to be comprehensive, detailing how to control regulated medical waste properly.
This plan should be communicated to every staff member to ensure strict adherence. You can formulate this plan by asking for input from your experienced team. Periodically, you should review the plan, make changes, and update your staff on such changes.
Know Your States Medical Waste Regulations
It would be best if you were conversant with your states medical waste regulations. The state regulation typically has a concise list of regulated medical waste and other types of garbage. Since medical waste comes in different forms, we have included numerous forms below:
- Infectious waste: unwanted samples and other waste contaminated with bodily fluids
- Pathological waste: human fluids, tissues, body parts, etc.
- Chemical waste: unwanted and disposed disinfectants, sterilants, thermometers, batteries, etc.
- Pharmaceutical waste: unwanted and expired vaccines and drugs
- Sharps waste: common examples include needles, syringes, blades, scalpels, etc.
- Cytotoxic waste: hazardous chemicals used in the treatment of cancer and other medical conditions
- General waste: These are wastes that do not pose a chemical, biological, or pathological hazard
Your business must be familiar with specific regulations in your state to prevent confusion and unwanted expenses.
Make Use of Reusable Products When Possible
The cost of purchasing and disposing of used medical tools is enormous. However, there are medical tools that can be disinfected and sterilized for future use. Your business should buy and make use of these products when possible.
When purchasing these items you should first check to see if it is reusable from the manufacturers instructions.
Color Code Your Waste Containers
Instead of piling all your waste in one container, color-coding them can make a significant difference in waste management. These containers include:
- Yellow container: infectious and clinical waste
- Red container: medical and biohazardous waste
- Black container: general medical waste
- Blue container: medical glassware and medicine to be disposed of
Another way you can effectively reduce waste is to strategically place signage on the facility to notify your staff and the general public about the containers. Signs are powerful tools, as they can help remind your team about your waste disposal policies.
The signages should expressly state which waste goes into what container, as it would help to reduce disposal costs.
Get the Sterilis Solution Remediator
We saved the best for last. One of our highly recommended methods of reducing your waste is to get the Sterilis Solutions Remediator. It is an impressive on-site device that shreds your regulated medical waste into harmless confetti, which you can quickly dispose.
Featuring a sleek and compact design, the Remediator is easy to use, limiting risk to your employees and patients. As an employer this can significantly reduce you and your employees financial risk as needlestick injuries can range from $500-$4,000.
The exciting thing about the Remediator is that it can be in several locations, including FBO airports, clinical labs, hospitals, dialysis centers, surgery centers, nursing homes, and veterinaries.
With this innovative machine, your days of boxing up large medical waste are over. Also, you would be spending less to dispose your waste. It is a win-win situation.
The cost of medical waste does not need to be a forgone conclusion. There are numerous ways, big and small, in which your business can reduce its waste. Should there be any hesitancy regarding documents with medical or personal information, Expense To Profit has been recertified completing its annual HIPAA Compliance Audit.
You can also reach out to us to see how we can help your business reduce mounting expenses to boost profits.
Published by Marc Freedman
Marc currently serves as our Chief Cost Evaluator, expertly advising our client management team on how to help you successfully achieve your business and financial growth goals. A respected mentor to all he consults with, he is an avid collaborator and contributor to the spend consultant community, guiding thought leaders to formulate, design, and install the best operational solutions available to their clients.