Smarter Purchasing

Greener upstream, cleaner downstream

Environmentally preferable purchasing initiatives empower UH to select safe and efficient products and services that also show positive environmental performance in the areas of indoor air quality, local economics, waste reduction and energy savings.

Learn more about environmentally preferable electronics purchasing efforts and the DEHP-free NICU at Rainbow Babies & Children’s hospital.

Buying Locally

UH contributed to the local economy as a purchaser of services and supplies produced in the region. We purchased locally grown lettuces from Green City Growers and laundry services from Evergreen Laundry Cooperative, both of which are a part of the Evergreen Cooperatives that promote job creation and wealth building in Cleveland neighborhoods through a worker-owner business model.

Collaborating Nationally

UH collaborates nationally with peer institutions and nonprofit medical organizations to lead the health care industry toward more responsible procurement practices. This collaboration has resulted in positive actions such as our pledge to purchase flame-retardant-free furniture and our commitment to increase the purchase of antibiotic-free meat.

Greening the OR

The Office of Sustainability continues to work closely with system supply chain champions in this area to actively pursue cost and waste savings in the regular review of surgical kits as well as the expansion of single-use device reprocessing efforts in collection and purchasing.

Surgical Kit Review

Reviewing the contents of custom surgical kits provides the opportunity to modify their contents to reduce waste and save on purchase costs. UH operating room staff at various facilities worked with suppliers to review 52 percent of available surgical kits in 2014, the reformulation of which resulted in significant savings and reduced landfill waste.

Single Use Device Reprocessing

The reprocessing of single-use medical devices (SUDs) is an FDA-regulated process by which these devices are collected and remanufactured instead of being sent to landfills. This results in significant environmental and cost benefits. In addition to reducing the amount of landfilled waste, valuable resources are reused when collected SUDs are dismantled, cleaned, reassembled and individually quality checked by an FDA-certified third party, creating a remanufactured product that can then be put back to use. Finally, hospitals like UH save on purchase costs when they buy reprocessed devices. In 2014, the UH system experienced a decrease in purchased volume of SUDs (due to a transition in vendor relationships), but an increase in SUD collection volumes, with collection being expanded in stages throughout the year to include pulse oximetry probes, sequential compression device sleeves and electrophysiology ablation catheters and cables. Perceived space barriers to SUD collection in operating rooms (ORs) are being addressed through a collaborative effort between the safety office and OR staff and expanded purchasing opportunities are being pursued through supply chain.

10 Environmental Excellence awards

UH earned 10 Environmental Excellence awards from Practice Greenhealth, including the prestigious System for Change award. The awards recognize our health system’s achievements in environmental-sustainability programs and improvements during 2015.

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