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Eco-Friendly Healthcare: Five Steps for a More Sustainable Medical Practice

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Despite living in a single-use, planned obsolescence society, wanting to live a more green life is always something for which we should all endeavor. However, while it may be easier to do so at home, it can definitely be more challenging to try to implement it at your medical clinic. 

Sadly, most healthcare practices are fraught with waste, and research has indicated that the environmental impact of medical clinics is appallingly high. From over 6.6 tons of water wasted every day to toxic chemicals being used at these facilities, the need to go green at your own medical practice is higher than ever. 

Fortunately, converting your clinic to a more sustainable facility doesn’t have to be difficult. There are a few simple, actionable ways you can start making that transition now, allowing you to carry your values over to your workplace, as well.

Go Digital

In addition to water waste and toxic chemicals, medical clinics are also terrible at wasting paper, too. In general, healthcare facilities use approximately 2 billion pounds of paper each year, adding to the already overflowing landfills around the globe. To help offset this, you can look into using medical records storage systems that can help you transition to electronic health records (EHR) for your office, minimizing the amount of paper your clinic uses and wastes.

Try Greener Materials

It can be hard to get rid of your clinic’s paper trail, especially since many records are still transmitted through fax, due to HIPAA requirements. Instead, you should consider introducing greener materials at your office. Use recyclable paper and, of course, create a designated recycle bin for waste that isn’t protected health information (PHI). 

Many ink pens and pencils these days are also made from recycled materials, so you can use those in your office, too. Even your clinic’s bathroom can be greened up with biodegradable soaps and recycled paper towels.

Turn Off the Lights

Many clinics keep their lights running around the clock, but this can be a serious drain on our energy resources. While not all clinics can justify turning off their lights at night, you could switch to more energy-efficient bulbs, such as LED lights instead of fluorescents. Furthermore, you should advise your staff to turn things off when they’re not using it, such as shutting down their computers when they leave at night.

You don’t have to stop at turning off the lights, either. If you don’t have anyone in the office during certain hours, why not turn off the thermostat? You can also adjust your air conditioning and heater a few degrees, too. Also, do make sure your windows are insulated and sealed so heat or cool air doesn’t leak through them.

Get Rid of the Magazines

Providing magazines to your patients in the waiting room is a considerate gesture, but it’s also one that’s terrible for the environment. Understandably, you don’t want your patients growing antsy or bored while they wait to see you. Instead, why not offer coffee table books for them to browse while they wait to be seen? You can rotate your inventory out every few months, too, to keep it fresh.

Tap Into Natural Resources

Finally, don’t underestimate the power of using the bounty of natural resources already at your fingertips. For instance, natural sunlight not only boosts moods and improves the ambiance, but it also is free and totally renewable. If you’re looking to decorate your office, eschew wasteful textiles and products and instead look at using plants. Hardy greenery like succulents can make your office more attractive while also reducing indoor air pollution.

Are You Ready to Go Green?

As a healthcare provider, you have a lot on your plate already. From trying to stay on top of your continued education (CE) requirements to keeping up with your full schedule, it can be stressful to even consider making the switch. However, it’s absolutely worth it, and knowing that you’re making a positive change in the world can be incredibly rewarding.

One way you can help reduce your stress when converting your office to a more green space is to turn to healthcare consulting to take some of that burden off your shoulders. These trained professionals can help you navigate the trickier aspects of running your practice. They can even help guide you through the process of making more sustainable changes at your office, such as switching to EHR and helping with paperless, digital marketing.

No matter how you approach it, though, the goal is to ultimately help ensure the welfare of our planet. Even by introducing just one or two of these suggestions, you can help do your part in reducing your clinic’s impact on the environment, making your office part of a much bigger green revolution.

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