Most healthcare professionals always look for cost-effective solutions to run their medical facilities. That way, they can spend funds on scaling their business in more productive departments such as medical staff and patient care.
However, proper waste management is crucial to maintain a healthy and safe environment within the workplace. In simpler terms, you should never compromise on waste management in medical facilities. After all, these units are more vulnerable to health risks. Infections and diseases can spread much faster without proper care, creating an unhealthy environment for everyone. To add on to that, if not consistently monitored waste management can quickly become very expensive.
Then, how can you reduce waste costs? This article will teach how you can optimize your medical waste volume to reduce total waste management costs.
Reduce Waste Costs
Construct a Waste Management Plan
An effective waste management plan includes the following:
- Determining the baseline waste management cost
- Defining the cost by a single denominator
- Defining quality outcomes for the plan
- Draft one-year and ten-year cost curves
- Executing the waste management plan
- Keeping track of the plan’s effectiveness and making adjustments accordingly
While having a solid medical waste management plan is the crucial foundation of the process, reducing your waste is always the first real step toward cost reduction. After all, producing waste is costly, and waste management costs begin stacking if you’re not careful enough.
Therefore, it is necessary to work on reducing your waste output to bring down the waste management costs. Your waste costs will keep declining as you reduce medical waste.
How to Reduce Medical Waste
Simple waste reduction strategies can significantly reduce your medical facility’s waste output. As a result, your waste management plan will become more efficient and require less money to upkeep.
The following small changes can significantly impact your total waste management costs.
Separate Your Medical Waste Containers
First and foremost, the medical staff should understand what truly counts as ‘regulated medical waste.’
Generally, regulated medical waste refers to the section of total waste that may be contaminated with infected blood or other potentially infectious fluids. Regulated medical waste is known as ‘red bag waste’ and ‘infectious medical waste.’
Tossing ordinary waste in regulated medical waste bins is one of the most significant contributors to large volumes of medical waste. It is crucial to avoid mixing general trash with medical waste if you want to reduce your facility’s total medical waste production.
Medical waste disposal providers typically calculate the disposal cost by the weight of your waste. Mixing trash with harmful red waste can add to its weight, ultimately increasing waste costs.
By separating your medical waste bins from regular trash and policing waste disposal can make a significant difference.
Use Large Waste Containers
As already mentioned, the waste disposal cost primarily depends on the weight of your medical waste. But, weight is not the only factor determining the price of the disposal service.
For example, the transportation fee for picking up the medical waste from your facility also counts. As such, medical waste disposal services are a common part of the total waste management costs. So, what can you do to reduce the number of waste disposal pickups needed?
The size of your bins might be a problem if you often need medical waste disposal services. Invest in bigger storage bins and schedule your waste disposal pickups. Large containers can collect more medical waste before you make the next call.
Get Reusable Bins and Medical Supplies
Whenever possible, use reusable medical supplies and bins and see your medical waste volume reduce significantly. While most healthcare facilities use disposable medical supplies and containers, their reusable alternatives are much better if you want to reduce medical waste.
For example, you can disinfect and reuse specific medical instruments. Such practices reduce not only waste costs but also supply costs. You can use reusable materials instead of disposable surgical tools to reduce your hospital's total cost.
However, you should check the manufacturer's instructions and review state laws before reusing medical tools. After all, you don’t want to endanger your patients’ lives.
Furthermore, you can replace your disposable bins with dumping containers to toss the sharps. Doing so will significantly reduce the weight of your medical waste bags, helping you save some cash.
Provide Waste Segregation Training
Education and diligence are critical factors of any plan necessary for running a system. A medical waste management plan is nothing but a set of rules if you’re not separating your medical facility’s waste.
Patients and visitors may not understand the importance of disposing medical waste and ordinary trash separately. As it keeps happening, the facility’s staff may adopt the same practice if they don’t have the necessary training.
You can simply improve your medical facility’s waste generation by hosting a training program that teaches waste segregation. Combine your plan with state laws and demand the facility’s staff follow these standards.
Regular audits will ensure that staff and patients are disposing of waste in their designated bins. Waste stream audits will help determine the reasons behind high waste management costs while guaranteeing safe disposal. As such, you can also maintain a safe and healthy environment.
Proper waste treatment is critical to appropriately manage waste, which ultimately helps reduce waste output and lower costs. Waste treatment options include:
Thermal Treatment: Thermal medical waste treatment or autoclaving is suitable for sharp and infectious waste. However, you should never use this method for pharmaceutical waste
Biological Treatment: A relatively new technology, biological waste treatment is specially designed for red bag waste.
Chemical Treatment: You should treat all the medical fluids and chemicals through special chemical waste treatment.
Microwave Treatment: Irradiative Treatment, commonly known as microwave treatment, is suitable for infectious and sharp waste.
A solid medical waste management plan is the key to reducing your total waste costs. However, cutting down on your waste volume is the first step. You can reduce your facility’s waste production through waste segregation, large storage bins, reusable supplies, education, and proper waste treatment.