Initiative looks to reduce carbon emissions by 50%
Joining seven other systems with environmental sustainability initiatives, including Kaiser Permanente, the department will reduce waste — and continue to offer world class patient care.
“The healthcare industry, like many industries, has a significant environmental impact, with operating rooms in particular having an outsized carbon footprint,” said Matthew Desciak, M.D., department chair of anesthesiology. “Disposable equipment has become popular over the past decade for many reasons, but this has led to large volumes of waste and a complicated lifecycle from manufacturing to shipping to elimination.”
Environmental plans can have a tremendous impact in systems as large as Geisinger. The reliance on disposable equipment makes sense for some devices, but there are opportunities to reduce the reliance on disposables and use more advanced reusable equipment.
Geisinger will be looking for opportunities to switch from disposable to reusable for products like laryngoscopes, circuits, and medical gowns. This will allow for higher quality products and a reduction in the department’s carbon footprint associated with large-scale manufacturing. The change will also eliminate a substantial amount of waste.
“Our hope is to reduce the use of anesthetic gases by 50 percent, which will have the largest impact on reducing our carbon footprint. Using an anesthetic gas at typical flow rates for an eight-hour day has the equivalent environmental impact of driving a car from Danville to Mexico making this an incredibly important goal for the department,” added Dr. Desciak.
These initiatives are already in place at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville and will continue to roll out systemwide throughout the year.
Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1 million people it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes 10 hospital campuses, a health plan with more than half a million members, a research institute and the Geisinger College of Health Sciences, which includes schools of medicine, nursing and graduate education. With more than 25,000 employees and 1,700+ employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at geisinger.org or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Senior Communications Specialist