A new survey found that more hospitals are planning to invest in sustainability products going forward.
- The idea of “going green” has touched many aspects of today’s culture and it seems as it health care practices are starting to get on board. Environmentally friendly approaches to health care are growing in popularity, but they also could have tangible benefits for hospitals that invest.
According to a recent Harris Poll that was commissioned by Johnson & Johnson, sustainability will become a major focus for health care organizations going forward. The study features the results of a survey of 300 global health care professionals from six countries including the U.S., U.K., France, germany, Brazil and Japan. Currently, hospitals integrate sustainability into product purchasing 54 percent of the time. By 2016, that number is projected to increase to 80 percent.
There is support for sustainability coming from all levels of the hospitals. Seventy-six percent of those surveyed are more likely to purchase a company’s products or services if they have environmentally sustainable practices. Another 60 percent reported that their hospital has a strong commitment to sustainability from top management.
There is also the belief that sustainability will impact a number of initiatives. These include 78 percent that believe it will protect staff, 69 percent think it makes smart business sense, 60 percent believe it is important when choosing a hospital and 55 percent believe it improves health outcomes.
Despite growing support, there are some barriers. Cost of implementation was cited by 80 percent of those surveyed as the top challenge for sustainable investment. Other top obstacles include affordability, which was cited by 79 percent of respondents and availability of green products, which was cited by 69 percent of respondents. It was also discovered that only 22 percent of hospitals have an official environmental purchasing policy and only 67 percent of hospitals track the return on investment of sustainability initiatives.
There is also an issue when it comes to proving the benefits of sustainability. Eighty-two percent of respondents believe that the return on investment for sustainability initiatives are not always measured in financial terms.
“When it comes to purchasing medical devices, products and services, there are often costs beyond the price, such as storage, maintenance, and disposal costs that are frequently overlooked when calculating ROI,” Erol Odabasi, Johnson & Johnson’s direct of sustainability, wrote in a companion article to the study. “This means hospitals may unknowingly be paying more in the long term for a product with a lower sales cost, and new tools are required to evaluate and educate providers about the life cycle costs of a medical device.”
These obstacles have health care professional seeking help from medical manufacturers when it comes to sustainability. This includes 94 percent that are looking for manufacturers to lower prices, 90 percent are looking for more information on sustainability benefits and 90 percent want existing products to be made more sustainable.