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Special report: An introduction to going green

by Nancy Ryerson, Staff Writer | January 31, 2014
From the January 2014 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine


As for how McCarthy can help, CEO Chad Dorgan says the company has been “sustainably minded” for more than 100 years, but has formalized the focus in the last decade. Today, the company is staffed with around 325 LEED accredited professionals who work with customers to reach LEED silver and gold certification as well as Green Guide to Health Care benchmarks. “We figure out the best way to achieve the rating they want and also truly make the projects more sustainable,” says Dorgan.

More advice: Dorgan says that sometimes customers will come to him with the idea of becoming more sustainable, but without much else. “We say don’t worry about buzzwords, think about what does sustainability mean to you – maybe it’s energy, or water or the indoor environment,” says Dorgan. “The plaque is nice for the owner at the end, but that plaque doesn’t really get them to where they want to be.”

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Green need: Patient warming
Company/product: Augustine Temperature Management, HotDog patient warmer

The problem: Because the body can’t regulate temperature when it’s under anesthesia, patients must be warmed up before most surgeries. Traditional patient warmers are basically industrial-sized hairdryers that blow air through a disposable blanket.

The solution: The main benefits of the HotDog patient warmer are its safety benefits, says company president Brent Augustine. Studies have shown that forced-air warming can contaminate a sterile surgical field with unclean air from the floor. HotDog patient warmers are low voltage electric blankets and/or mattresses that do not use air to heat the patient. They also use 80 percent less energy than forced-air, bringing cost savings and an environmental benefit, and can help eliminate waste from the disposable blankets.

More advice: “A lot of places still have a bit of an aversion to reusable products, thinking that there is a cross contamination risk,” says Augustine. “In reality, with a lot of products like ours, that are considered non-critical because they only come in contact with intact skin, there’s really no risk of cross contamination.”

Green need: A home for excess supplies
Company: MedWish International

The problem: Hospitals often throw away unused medical supplies when changing vendors, or when inefficient ordering yields more gloves than anyone needs. Surgical kits are wasted if a patient is scheduled for surgery, but then the surgery is cancelled — if the insurance company has already paid for the kit, it must be thrown away, even if it was unused, explains Reanna Karousis, marketing and communications manager at MedWish International.

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