Green­ing hos­pi­tals

Ini­tia­tive lets hos­pi­tals col­lab­o­rate on ‘chal­lenges’

Modern Healthcare - - THE WEEK - An­dis Robeznieks

The num­ber of hos­pi­tals signed on to the Health­ier Hos­pi­tals Ini­tia­tive has grown to more than 700 from 500 at its launch in April, and pow­er­houses such as the Cleve­land Clinic have joined. But par­tic­i­pants say the big news is an un­prece­dented level of col­lab­o­ra­tion among highly com­pet­i­tive or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Par­tic­i­pants have the op­tion of col­lab­o­rat­ing on “chal­lenges” in six cat­e­gories: en­gaged lead­er­ship, more health­ful food, leaner en­ergy, less waste, safer chem­i­cals and “smarter” pur­chas­ing.

The Cleve­land Clinic’s pur­chas­ing de­ci­sions are gen­er­at­ing community wealth and sta­bi­liz­ing neigh­bor­hoods, Christina Ver­non, the sys­tem’s ex­ec­u­tive sus­tain­abil­ity of­fi­cer, said dur­ing a July 24 event at the White House spon­sored by the White House Coun­cil on En­vi­ron­ment Qual­ity. “We are de­lib­er­ately di­vert­ing dol­lars in our sup­ply chain to sup­port busi­nesses that are al­ready here, to at­tract busi­nesses we need and to build new busi­nesses,” Ver­non said.

The na­tional ef­fort some­times com­bines with some lo­cal ef­forts. In Bos­ton, John Messervy, di­rec­tor of cap­i­tal and fa­cil­i­ties plan­ning at Part­ners Health­Care Sys­tem, is serv­ing as

na­tional chair­man of Health­ier Hos­pi­tals, while Gary Gottlieb, Part­ners’ pres­i­dent and CEO, is serv­ing on the Bos­ton Green Rib­bon Com­mis­sion along with Kate Walsh, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Bos­ton Med­i­cal Cen­ter.

The Bos­ton panel, which pro­motes more ef­fi­cient and cleaner en­ergy poli­cies, in­cludes peo­ple from sev­eral in­dus­tries, with Gottlieb and Walsh rep­re­sent­ing “a point of a wedge for their sec­tor,” said Paul Lipke, a com­mis­sion ad­viser as well as an en­ergy and green build­ings se­nior ad­viser for Health Care With­out Harm—one of the found­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions of Health­ier Hos­pi­tals.

Al­though many or­ga­ni­za­tions have been work­ing on en­ergy is­sues in­di­vid­u­ally, Lipke said col­lab­o­rat­ing has led to shared learn­ing, ag­gre­gated data and lever­aged pur­chas­ing power that will lead to quicker re­sults. “This is a big prob­lem and they rec­og­nize it’s not go­ing to be pos­si­ble to solve it in­di­vid­u­ally,” Lipke said. “They can learn from each other, and this is done even as they try to steal pa­tients and physi­cians from each other.”

Still, progress can be elu­sive. Messervy said dur­ing the event that he can be up on the roof work­ing on en­ergy con­ser­va­tion projects as med­i­cal equip­ment comes through the door that will wipe out any gains he’s able to achieve. But he added that Part­ners re­cently had to re­place an $800,000 hema­tol­ogy de­vice and de­cided to go with the prod­uct that was cal­cu­lated to use 22% less en­ergy than the other fi­nal­ist.

“If we mul­ti­ply that across the lit­er­ally thou­sands pieces of clin­i­cal equip­ment we’re us­ing, it will have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the en­ergy we’re us­ing,” Messervy said in an in­ter­view. He added that it’s es­ti­mated that med­i­cal de­vices ac­count for up to 25% of the health­care in­dus­try’s an­nual $8 bil­lion elec­tric­ity bill.

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