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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Going ‘Green’ May Cut Hospital Costs

Going ‘Green’ May Cut Hospital Costs
Even surgical staff can reduce waste without harming patients, study says

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From the February 22 Health Day news item by Robert Preidt

MONDAY, Feb. 21 (HealthDay News) — Implementing practical, environmentally friendly practices in operating rooms and other hospital facilities could reduce health-care costs without compromising patient safety, says a new study.

In the United States, health-care facilities are a major source of waste products, producing more than 6,600 tons per day and more than 4 billion pounds a year. Nearly 70 percent of hospital waste is produced by operating rooms and labor-and-delivery suites.

Operating rooms have energy-sucking overhead lights and it’s common for OR staff to open sterilized equipment that is never used, and to fill red bags that are labeled as medical waste with harmless trash that could be disposed of more cheaply, said the Johns Hopkins researchers.

“There are many strategies that don’t add risk to patients but allow hospitals to cut waste and reduce their carbon footprints,” study lead author Dr. Martin A. Makary, an associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a Hopkins news release.

He and his colleagues reviewed research on hospitals’ environmental practices and then convened a panel of experts to create a list of practical eco-friendly strategies that could be used in operating rooms.

The top five strategies were: cutting down on and separating operating room waste; reprocessing single-use medical devices; considering the environment when making purchasing decisions; improving energy consumption; and improved management of pharmacy waste.

The study appears in the February issue of the journal Archives of Surgery.***





February 23, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

AHRQ Researchers Find That Inpatient Operating Room Procedures Account For Nearly Half of Hospitals’ Treatment Costs

The image shows an operating room. A patient i...

The image shows an operating room. A patient is being prepared for surgery. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Researchers Find That Inpatient Operating Room Procedures Account For Nearly Half of Hospitals’ Treatment Costs

From the AHRQ newsletter , January 2011 #304

Although only a quarter of patient stays in U.S. hospitals in 2007 involved procedures that were conducted in operating rooms, such stays accounted for 47 percent of hospitals’ costs – a total of $161 billion for patients receiving procedures, according to a new study by AHRQ researchers that was published in the December 2010 issue of the Archives of Surgery.  The researchers found that one-third of the 15 million operating room procedures that year involved people age 65 and older and that older patients were two to three times more likely to undergo surgery than younger patients.  Surgical patients tended to be less severely ill than non-surgical patients, but their daily cost was double — $2,900 versus $1,400 a day.  Fifteen procedures accounted for half of hospitals’ costs for surgical patient stays and one-quarter of overall hospital costs.  Four of the most expensive procedures – angioplasty, cesarean section delivery, knee replacement and spinal fusion – increased in volume by between 20 percent and 46 percent between 1997 and 2007, while heart bypass surgery plummeted by 70 percent.  More than half of all procedures were elective.  According to AHRQ researchers and study authors, Anne Elixhauser, Ph.D., and Roxanne M. Andrews, Ph.D., the findings highlight the important role that inpatient surgical procedures play in U.S. health care. The study is based on data in AHRQ’s Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database of hospital inpatient stays in short-term, nonfederal hospitals, which includes all patients, regardless of their type of insurance type, as well as the uninsured.  Select to access the abstract on PubMed.® A free print copy is available by sending an e-mail to

January 25, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , | Leave a comment


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