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Climate change never seems to have convenient timing. For instance, while still reeling from the pandemic, California residents have grown used to waking up to an eerie orange glow this fall, and fires have become a seasonal norm. People are facing the effects of climate change all across the country, and each of us can still do our part to help. It can seem overwhelming to think about making your practice eco-friendly, but the most challenging part is just getting started.
Every Single Step Counts
As a healthcare professional, you might be wondering how you can impact the fight against climate change. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to make sustainable changes that could benefit both your practice and the environment.
Below are six steps you can take to make your practice more sustainable:
1. Go paperless
There’s no concrete answer to how many sheets of paper a single tree can produce, but estimates suggest one ream (500 sheets) uses up about 5% of a tree. It may not sound like much, but considering how many sheets a medical practice can use in a single day, those numbers add up.
The environmental benefits of going paperless are obvious: fewer sheets of paper, fewer dead trees. But the advantages it brings to your office are a game-changer. Besides cutting costs, going paperless can also improve office efficiency, streamline record keeping, and reduce the risk of losing and exposing confidential PHIs.
So how exactly can you achieve a paperless office? Go digital. Having a robust EHR software that can handle your clinical charting and records management is the first step towards becoming paper-free.
2. Reduce electricity usage
An all-in-one practice software is crucial in reducing your practice’s electrical consumption. Some solutions in the market today, like Meditab’s IMS, integrate the functions of other types of office equipment into the software itself, like faxing. With a fully-integrated e-faxing solution, practice EHRs like IMS can help you do away with your fax machine, saving you money on electricity bills and maintenance costs.
3. Expand Telehealth capability
Having the ability to see your patients remotely not only drives more revenue to your practice, but it also helps the environment. With remote visits, patients no longer need to travel to your clinic to see you, which means one less car on the road. It may seem insignificant, but if more practices adopt Telehealth technology, it could reduce carbon emissions across the healthcare sector by as much as 40-70 times.
4. Ban single-use plastics
A total of 5.9 million tons of garbage annually come from hospitals and healthcare facilities across the country. A significant portion of that is single-use plastics.
You can start implementing changes by banning plastic materials like straws and plastic spoons and forks and slowly make more significant changes from there. You can also encourage your employees to use reusable alternatives.
5. Create a green space
Being around nature can have a positive effect on patients, both mentally and physically. Many practices are starting to allocate an area in and around their office for green space. Having one is like hitting two birds with one stone: you’ll help heal the environment while helping your patients to heal as well.
6. Conserve water
Water conservation can be as simple as putting up reminders on your bathroom walls or something as complex as installing more efficient heating and cooling systems, waterless urinals, and retrofitting your toilet flush valves.
While the cost and amount of work that goes into implementing water conservation measures can seem overwhelming, the long-term benefits make it all worth it. Not only is it better for the environment, but you’ll be saving a lot of money too.
Saving the Planet Is a Collective Effort
We all play a significant role in combating climate change. That includes your medical office. No step is too small. Whether it’s conserving water, proper segregation of waste, or going digital, each is a step in the right direction.
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