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Green Healthcare System: Main Features in Supporting Sustainability of Healthcare System—A Review

  • Jazla FaddaEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Innovative Renewable Energy book series (INREE)

Abstract

Objectives: (a) To review the main components and characteristics of successful and sustainable healthcare system, (b) to review the main pillars of green healthcare, (c) to provide an evidence of the role of green healthcare as a driven force impacting the sustainability of healthcare system.

Background: Green healthcare system is likely to be most compelling because of its potential to protect and promote health, both directly and indirectly. “A successful health system has three dimensions: outcomes—means attaining the highest level of healthcare that is effective, safe, timely, patient-centered, and efficient; equity—meaning that treatment is applied without discrimination or disparities to all individuals and families, regardless of age, group identity, or place; and fairness—the system is fair to the health professionals, institutions, and businesses supporting and delivering care. According to IOM, there are were six objectives of the twenty-first century healthcare system: safe by avoiding injuries to patients, effective by avoiding underuse and overuse, patient-centered by ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions.

Key Finding: Green healthcare system will lead to health benefits operated at three scales; local scale, within the walls of a health facility, by promoting green construction and operation to protect patients, workers, and visitors. The review outlined the main components of Green Healthcare System: (1) leadership: Leadership is essential at all levels towards safety and sustainability key organizational priorities, through education, goal setting, accountability, and incorporating these priorities in all external relations and communications. (2) Substitute harmful chemicals with safer alternatives: The healthcare sector is a major consumer of chemicals including those well documented to cause serious impacts on health and the environment. Thus, a sector whose mission is to protect human health is contributing to the burden of disease. (3) Reduce, treat, and safely dispose of healthcare wastes: Hospitals generate millions of tons of waste each year, the combined toxic and infectious properties of medical waste represent an underestimated environmental and public health threat. (4) Implement energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy generation: Solar and wind can both significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect public health from the myriad impacts of climate change, including increased heat-related illnesses, the expansion of vector borne diseases, and increased droughts and water scarcity in some regions and storms and flooding in others. (5) Reduce hospital water consumption and supply potable water: Lack of water and sanitation infrastructure is a major problem that directly impacts hospitals and healthcare systems through overburdening them with more disease in the population. Health facilities can conserve water resources by closely metering water use, installing water-efficient fixtures and technologies, and growing drought-resistant landscape. (6) Improve transportation strategies for patients and staff: The health sector is a transportation-intensive industry that requires lots of ambulance hospital vehicles, delivery vehicles, and staff and patient travel, which leads to air pollution impacts. Shifting to hybrid technologies, all-electric vehicles, and compressed natural gas and encouraging hospital staff and patients to use bicycles can reduce emissions. Improve transportation strategies for patients and staff. (7) Food: A growing number of healthcare facilities in developed and developing countries that purchase and serve food to patients and workers are reducing their environmental footprint and improving patient and worker health by making changes in hospital service menus and practices. (8) Pharmaceutical Pollution and Safer Pharma: Levels of pharmaceuticals in the environment are likely to rise in years to come, as the global demand for pharmaceuticals grows the impact of pharmaceutical industry on the environment has implications for human health including antimicrobial resistance. (9) Green Building: The health sector has the potential, through its market power, to influence the construction industry to develop safer, more resilient, greener, and healthier building products and systems. The significant environmental and health impacts associated with hospital buildings have led to the creation and adoption of a wide variety of “green building” tools and resources related to healthcare. (10) Purchasing: The health sector spends huge amounts of money on purchasing goods. Healthcare purchasing results in a significant environmental impact and can also have significant human rights impacts.

Conclusion: Green healthcare system is not merely go green concept, it’s going beyond by incorporating all the aspects of healthcare system, such as leadership, substituting harmful chemicals with safer alternatives, safe disposal of wastes, energy efficiency, renewable energy generation, transportation strategies, food, green building, safer pharma, and purchasing.

Keywords

Healthcare system–sustainable healthcare system Goals of healthcare system Green healthcare–green hospital Healthcare leadership Chemicals Wastes Pharmaceutical pollution Green building 

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Visionary Mindset Professional & Management Development TrainingDubaiUnited Arab Emirates

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