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A Breakthrough in Healthcare Sustainable development

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Healthcare development

The future lies in sustainable healthcare management. Private and government healthcare institutions and various stakeholders need to create a framework that encourages recycling for a greener future. India’s medical devices sector has emerged as one of the fastest growing in the country.

In 2020, its market size was estimated to be USD 11 billion with a 1.5% share in the global market. After Japan, China, and Korea, India is Asia’s fourth largest medical equipment manufacturer, producing over 6,000 types of devices. The market is poised to grow up to USD 50 billion by 2025. While this is an extraordinary achievement for the country, it is of vital importance at this time to think of the environmental impact due to the waste generated and the costs associated with medical equipment.

Before we delve deep into the issue of sustainable healthcare management, we can also take a look at the growth of the healthcare and hospital management sector in India over the recent years.

About the Health Care Industry

The healthcare industry in India has grown at an extraordinary rate. This sudden surge has created a great demand and preference for hospital management courses and relevant programs in India. The prime objective of the BBA Hospital Management course is to supply quality healthcare services to people in a cost-effective plan.

The demand for professional administrators in hospitals worldwide is rapidly increasing. This is due to the fact that the kind of work in hospitals is entirely different from other industries. Hospitals are expected to provide quality service all the time (24×7 and 365 days). The primary quality of its work and the efficiency standard is considered to have expanded the requirement for well-planned hospital management programs across the country.

Great Prospects of India’s Health Care Sector

A recent report indicates that the Indian hospital industry will witness a robust Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of roughly 12 per cent in the next three years. Increase in disposable income in a certain section of the population, easy access to top-grade health facilities, growth of health insurance, an increase in Average Revenue Per Occupied Bed (ARPOB), expanded operational bed capacity, and a reduction in the Average Length of Patient Stays (ALOS) are the reasons fr the positive outlook of the hospital and healthcare sector. In spite of the challenges presented by the pandemic, the industry has maintained healthy operating margins.

The Hospital and Healthcare sector in India consists of hospitals, OPDs, medical apparatus, clinical trials, health insurance,  telemedicine, medical tourism, and medical equipment. Traditionally healthcare has largely been a public (government-aided) enterprise as the constitution of Indi guarantees free healthcare for all its citizens.

Rise of Private Health Care

Following the large-scale economic reforms initiated in 1991, more and more private sector participation was witnessed in the healthcare sector and today the private healthcare industry is responsible for the majority of healthcare in India. Healthcare costs are paid by patients and their families and also by health insurance. India’s boasts of a large reservoir of skilled medical professionals including some of the best doctors and surgeons. At the same time, the price of surgery in India is a fraction of that in the US or Western Europe.

Efficient Hospital Management a Key to Health Care

Hospital Management is an interdisciplinary program that combines business principles with healthcare administration expertise to prepare students for leadership roles in the healthcare industry. Hospital management, also known as healthcare administration or healthcare management, involves planning, directing, and coordinating medical and health services.

Professionals in this field encompass a wide array of responsibilities, all aimed at ensuring healthcare facilities’ smooth and efficient operation. The field of hospital management requires a diverse skill set that includes leadership, communication, financial acumen, healthcare regulations, and technologies.

The following paragraphs outline the position of World Health Organization on the need for good health care and Hospital Management, as quoted from the WHO website:-

“Hospitals complement and amplify the effectiveness of many other parts of the health system, providing continuous availability of services for acute and complex conditions. They concentrate scarce resources within well-planned referral networks to respond efficiently to population health needs. They are an essential element of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and will be critical to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Managing Healthcare waste

Healthcare waste is all the waste generated by healthcare facilities, medical laboratories and biomedical research facilities, as well as waste from minor or scattered sources. Effective waste management is a key factor in sustainable healthcare.

Infectious waste which can harm people’s health, 

Hazardous waste which comprises surgery equipment and needles, 

Radioactive waste is produced by cancer treatment and machines that use it. 

Of the total healthcare waste generated, 85% comprises non-hazardous waste that can be treated and reused. However, they continue to fill up landfills, exacerbating the environmental crisis. 

At the same time, procuring new materials increases the expenditure which can be financially untenable for smaller healthcare establishments. In this situation, recycling can reduce the overuse of natural resources which have been stretched within over the years and provide a cost-effective alternative for many healthcare establishments. 

What is Bio-Medical Waste?

Biomedical waste management is the appropriate and efficient storage, handling, transportation, treatment, and disposal of waste generated by hospitals, OPD Centres, Diagnostic centres and other healthcare facilities as well as medical research facilities, and any other institutions where bio-medical procedures are carried out.

Biomedical waste can include any waste generated during immunization, diagnosis and treatment of human beings or animals. This waste carry the risk of containing hazardous materials such as infectious agents, sharps, chemical or radioactive substances, or other types of medical waste that can pose a threat to public health and the environment if not properly handled.

Benefits of recycling medical equipment

Accessibility and affordability

Many hospitals in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities and villages still face a shortage of the necessary equipment. As the burden of chronic diseases grows, patients are forced to travel to better-equipped facilities in cities, costing them time and money. Recycling medical equipment can ensure that hospitals in resource-limited settings have the tools to provide life-saving treatment. Patients can thus gain access to appropriate facilities. Furthermore, recycling can enable hospitals that lack capital to procure advanced equipment. This can help bridge healthcare disparities across the country. 

Reducing environmental impact and improving sustainability: 

The country has an estimated 69,000 hospitals that generate vast amounts of waste, which is detrimental to the environment due to the greenhouse emissions they generate. Improper disposal can lead to outbreaks of infectious diseases. Recycling of durable medical equipment, on the other hand, reduces the amount of waste dumped in landfills and helps minimise the carbon footprint. Since hospitals pay to dispose of medical waste, reusing equipment can bring down the associated costs. 

The Challenges 

There are several challenges that prevent recycled equipment from being an integral part of the Indian healthcare ecosystem. These issues need to be addressed for sustainability in healthcare since they contribute in the long run to efforts to minimize the adverse effects of climate change. Some of these challenges are discussed below. Indeed recycling of medical equipment in the healthcare sector can reduce the environmental impact of superfluous consumption which in turn results in low emissions, less pollution and a positive concern for the hazards of climate change. The issue of sustainability in health care management should be a matter of paramount concern so that the negative impacts on the environment and the ozone layer are reduced as much as possible.

Lack of awareness

There is very little awareness about the benefits of reusing equipment, especially plastics which is a vital factor of sustainable healthcare. The healthcare sector utilizes a plethora of single-use plastics but there is negligible awareness about their recyclability. Many consider used medical equipment to be of inferior quality and choose to avoid it altogether. 

Regulatory issues

The Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management, Handling and Transboundary Movement) Rules, are responsible for overseeing the import of used critical care medical equipment for reuse. Though some of them have been banned from reuse, the country does not have a specific definition or criteria for refurbishing medical devices.

Logistical bottlenecks

Safety, storage, and transportation hamper the effective integration of medical equipment recycling. The lack of resources exacerbates these problems. 

Recycling medical equipment is beneficial not just for the environment but for the economy too. Technology can play a major role in streamlining and making the recycling process smoother by providing end-to-end platforms for the lifecycle management of medical equipment. These platforms can provide solutions such as maintenance, part replacement, repair, reconditioning, and restoration for timeworn components. Tech-based solutions can reduce the burden of old equipment that is usable from being unnecessarily dumped and bridge the gap between demand and supply. This can help equip hospitals in the most remote corners with the necessary life-saving tools to provide specialized care. 

What is Sustainable Living Health

It includes programmes designed to ensure the long-term sustainability of healthcare systems, promote community health and well-being, and reduce the environmental impact of healthcare operations. the emphasis on renewable energy, Resource efficiency, waste minimization, and the implementation of environmentally friendly practices in areas like energy use, waste management, and procurement are given top priority by sustainable healthcare organizations to minimize the effects of climate change. Additionally, they actively involve themselves in the neighbourhood to address health inequalities, advance health education, and cultivate alliances for long-term healthcare solutions. For sustainable healthcare organizations, it is important to address the requirements of the health and well-being of both the current and future generations while protecting the impacts on the environment and advancing human health and equity via innovation, education, and advocacy.

Meaning of Sustainability in Health

For the concept of a sustainable healthcare system to gain traction, private and government healthcare institutions and various stakeholders need to create a collaborative framework that encourages recycling as the road to a greener future. Recycling should be at the core of sustainability programmes. It ensures health care without harm to the ecosystem. Along with the thrust on renewable energy, the focus on recycling is the key strategy for environment preservation and curbing the effect of climate change. The need to combat the environmental impact of climate change can hardly be overstated.

For healthcare organizations, sustainable development is thoughtfully incorporating social, economic, and environmental factors into every facet of patient care.

Role and usage of different types of Health Equipment

1. Instruments for diagnosis:

List: MRI scanners, X-ray machines, ultrasound equipment, etc.

Role: Using internal structural imaging, it is used to diagnose a range of medical disorders.

Usage: Using scans and tests to find illnesses, injuries, or anomalies in the body.

2. Therapeutic Equipment:

List: Dialysis machines, ventilators, infusion pumps, etc.

Role: Administering treatments and therapies to patients to manage their medical conditions.

Usage: Providing essential life support, delivering medications, and facilitating medical procedures.

3. Monitoring Equipment:

List: Blood pressure monitors, electrocardiograms (ECGs), pulse oximeters, etc.

Role: Monitoring vital signs and physiological parameters to assess patient health status.

Usage: Continuously tracking parameters such as blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation, etc., during medical interventions or patient care.

4. Surgical Equipment:

List: Surgical instruments, anesthesia machines, operating tables, etc.

Role: Facilitating surgical procedures and ensuring a safe surgical environment.

Usage: Performing surgical interventions, maintaining sterility, and monitoring patient well-being during surgery.

5. Rehabilitation Equipment:

List: Mobility aids (wheelchairs, walkers), physiotherapy equipment, prosthetic devices, etc.

Role: Assisting patients in regaining physical function and independence after injury or illness.

Usage: Supporting rehabilitation programs, aiding mobility, and improving overall quality of life for patients undergoing recovery.

Role of HealthCare For Efficient and Professional Health Care Management

Hospital Management is an interdisciplinary program that combines business principles with healthcare administration expertise to prepare students for leadership roles in the healthcare industry. Hospital management, also known as healthcare administration or healthcare management, involves planning, directing, and coordinating medical and health services.

Professionals in this field encompass a wide array of responsibilities, all aimed at ensuring healthcare facilities’ smooth and efficient operation. The field of hospital management requires a diverse skill set that includes leadership, communication, financial acumen, healthcare regulations, and technologies.

The Need for Professional Hospital Managers

Hospital managers or administrators are responsible for the efficient and smooth operations of professionally managed hospitals using the service of trained and dedicated medical staff. Hospital administrators must have adequate knowledge of healthcare delivery and business management. Hospital administrators complete many tasks that help the hospital improve its services and offer safe, effective patient care.

Duties and Responsibilities of Hospital Administrators/Managers

A Hospital Administrator is entrusted with several tasks and responsibilities which include:-

  • Planning and managing finances, including budgeting, expenditure planning and funding
  • HR Functions: Recruiting, hiring, and training staff; managing human resources
  • Collection, Processing, Reviewing and Archiving patient and facility data to optimize patient care and overall hospital services.
  • Planning short- and long-term goals for the health organisation (Hospital, OPDs etc)
  • Assessing opportunities to render enhanced patient care and services
  • Maintaining regular communication with managers, investors and boards of directors to update them on day-to-day functioning and facility requirements
  • Ensuring hospital procedures comply with regulatory requirements
  • Planning and maintaining work schedules for employees, departments and projects
  • Inventory Management: Monitoring and allocating medical supplies and equipment
  • Keeping the organization updated on the latest medical advances and regulatory compliance

Medical and Clinical Operations

These are the duties and responsibilities of managers in a hospital. These duties define the job role of a hospital administrator/manager. As a hospital administrator or a hospital manager, one has to be thoroughly trained with a specialized degree to be able to make a career in hospital management. Some of the above duties, when performed efficiently, will enhance the quality of health services in a hospital. how to reach the planned management targets is the prime concern of all managers including hospital managers /administrators.

Learning Global Standards and Best Practices

The WHO sets international standards and guidelines for hospital management, covering areas such as infection control, patient safety, and emergency preparedness. By familiarizing yourself with these standards, you gain insights into global best practices in hospital administration. This knowledge equips you to implement effective management strategies and ensure the delivery of high-quality care in healthcare settings.

Enhancing Skills through Training Programs

As BBA Hospital Management students, you have the opportunity to participate in training programs offered by the WHO. These programs cover a wide range of topics, including hospital management, healthcare financing, and health information systems. By participating in these programs, you can enhance your skills, expand your knowledge base, and develop the competencies needed to excel in hospital administration roles.

Accessing Research and Innovation

The WHO supports research and innovation in hospital administration, collaborating with researchers and academic institutions worldwide. As BBA Hospital Maagemet students, you can leverage the WHO's resources to stay updated on the latest developments in healthcare management. By accessing research findings, best practices, and innovative solutions, you can gain valuable insights that will benefit your academic studies and future career.

Advocating for Policy Change

Understanding the WHO’s role in advocating for policies that support effective hospital administration is essential for BBAHM students. By learning about the WHO’s policy initiatives, you can develop a deeper understanding of the broader healthcare landscape. This knowledge will enable you to contribute to discussions on healthcare policy, advocate for positive change, and work towards improving healthcare outcomes in your community and beyond.

Conclusion

The pursuit of sustainable development in healthcare organizations is not merely a choice but a necessity in the face of growing environmental challenges and societal needs. By embracing sustainable practices, healthcare organizations can not only reduce their ecological footprint but also enhance patient outcomes, promote community health, and contribute to broader societal well-being.

As stewards of health and guardians of resources, healthcare organizations play a pivotal role in shaping a more sustainable and resilient future. Through collaborative efforts, innovation, and a commitment to ethical practices, they can pave the way for a healthier planet and population. Thus, environmental sustainability in healthcare is not just a goal but an imperative for ensuring a thriving and equitable future for all.

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