hospitals

With more than 45 million confirmed cases and more than 1 million deaths at the time of writing, the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc in virtually all countries around the world. Beyond grinding day-to-day life to a halt, the ongoing situation has prompted a reckoning throughout the health care industry, which is facing unprecedented challenges to ensure it can provide care, improve quality, and increase patient access, all while keeping its workers safe and balance costs. COVID-19 emphasised key challenges in service management of the elective pathway, and addressing these challenges will require a transformation, as healthcare players adopt to the new normal. In my opinion many hospitals have been struggling in the area of demand and capacity planning to meet waiting time standard – even before COVID-19 turned into a pandemic. In recent months, the pandemic has only turned additional spotlights on the problem, revealing inefficiencies, lack of resources, and capacity management in need of optimisation. As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases grew, waiting lists grew longer and longer, as hospitals operated at reduced capacity to accommodate patients suffering from COVID-19, further increasing the capacity constraints for clinical teams in other parts of the hospital. As a result, the health of patients who had to wait longer for their treatment was negatively affected, and they – understandably – grew anxious and frustrated, as even estimates for how long they would need to wait were hard to come by. As most of the world is looking into a phased return of elective procedures, it is becoming clear that a transformation will be necessary.Personally, I believe that hospitals need to optimise the demand and capacity planning to recover from COVID-19 challenges and sustain the hospital department in the medium- and long term. As there are a multitude of individual configurations,...
Environmental actions to tackle climate change are rightfully gaining space in the EU and national policy agenda. We are exceeding the Earth's capacity, reaching the limits of growth on a finite planet. Looking at our economy, it is clear to me that healthcare is part of the problem and must become part of the solution. As the third largest employer in the world, health care has the potential to make a significant impact on European sustainability strategies, maintaining quality of care and safety as a priority. Reducing hospital admissions and waste is not only critical for human health, but also for environmental and financial sustainability. Waste management initiatives offer great opportunities to reduce both environmental footprints and waste disposal expenses while improving the supply chain. I believe we can achieve significant cost savings – as high as 40-70 percent of waste disposal outlays, representing €3.5-6 billion in savings for the health industry. In addition, I see a major role for health care settings in reducing environmental impact by using their resources more efficiently, designing ‘greener’ buildings, and fostering primary care. Know your waste stream The first step to improving a facility's waste management is to understand its overall waste stream. Non-regulated waste, which makes up around 85% of a hospital's total waste stream, is no different from the waste generated by a hotel, where up to 60% is either recyclable or compostable. Regulated medical waste makes up about 5-15% while hazardous chemical waste makes up a smaller percentage (less than 5%) of a health care organization's waste by total volume. Hence, I believe it is important to embrace a recycling culture inside hospitals and start reducing the amount of environment damaging products such as plastic. For instance, a small initiative is to replace plastic bottles with glass ones, and to...