A New Method to Improve the Environmental Sustainability of the Operating Room: Healthcare Sustainability Mode and Effect Analysis (HSMEA)

Else F. de Ridder, Herman J. Friedericy*, A.C. van der Eijk, J. Dankelman, F.W. Jansen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Highlights: What are the main findings? Using the HSMEA, it is possible to systematically reduce operating room waste. The HSMEA identifies carbon hotspots of surgical waste based on waste stream analysis. Solutions for improvement are found by applying the six Rs of waste management. What is the implication of the main finding? A reproducible efficient approach to improve operating room sustainability. A structured and practical tool to reduce the environmental impact of surgical solid waste. The purpose of this study was to describe a new method to effectively improve the environmental impact of operating rooms through a systematic approach. A proven successful prospective risk analysis tool to improve the safety of complex healthcare processes (Healthcare Failure Mode and Effect Analysis) was adapted to reduce the environmental impact of surgical waste. For this novel method, named the Healthcare Sustainability Mode and Effect Analysis (HSMEA), a multidisciplinary team, using a structured step-by-step approach, systematically inventories surgical waste, quantifies its environmental impacts, identifies hotspots, and provides solutions for improvement. The five steps of the HSMEA are described (definition of the topic, team assembly, flowchart creation, hazard analysis, actions and outcome measures) and the surgical procedure of a caesarean section was used as a case study to assess the applicability of this method to improve its environmental impact. Applying the HSMEA to caesarean sections resulted in a 22% volume reduction and a 22% carbon footprint reduction in surgical waste. This was achieved by revising the disposable custom pack in order to reduce the overage that was present, and by intensifying waste stream segregation for plastic and paper recycling. The HSMEA is a practical work floor tool to aid in the reduction of the environmental impact of surgical waste that is applicable to all types of operations. It is reproducible, and because it identifies carbon hotspots, it enables an efficient approach to the issue of operating room pollution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13957
Number of pages15
JournalSustainability
Volume14
Issue number21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • operating room
  • surgical waste
  • waste reduction
  • carbon footprint
  • recycling

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