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Why ILM is key to achieving goals for sustainable healthcare

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The healthcare industry has a big – and expensive – waste problem.

The healthcare industry has a big – and expensive – waste problem. According to a report, seven thousand tons of waste are created every day and $10 billion is spent on disposal costs annually across the healthcare industry.

Many believe that the move towards a more digital way of healthcare will help with diminishing the amount of waste produced every year in the industry. However, there are some hidden negative impacts.

Although digital transformation is often perceived to be more environmentally friendly – as the consumption of paper does decrease – it does result in tradeoffs. For example, increasing data and compute power demands often lead to increased energy consumption.

However, a strategic and more proactive management of information across the lifecycle would help healthcare organizations positively impact environmental sustainability efforts rather than do harm.

Leverage ILM to advance sustainability in healthcare

With information lifecycle management (ILM) comes the opportunity for healthcare organizations to achieve their sustainability goals.

There are two primary ways in which ILM can help healthcare leaders advance sustainability in their organizations:

  • reduce waste by recycling, repurposing paper, remarketing devices, or remanufacturing plastics for the circular economy

  • power data centers with renewable energy sources to reduce CO2 emissions and environmental harm

The majority of healthcare organizations have the opportunity achieve these sustainability outcomes. With the help of ILM, a tangible and measurable impact can be demonstrated.

Reduce healthcare waste with ILM

Keep in mind, the amount of information captured, managed and utilized to support patient care is enormous. Unfortunately, this data proliferation also often leads to waste no matter the method in which you consume data; paper or IT systems or medical devices, etc.

Whether your healthcare organization is producing paper waste, e-waste or plastic waste, there is an opportunity to create a second life, or circular economy, by remanufacturing, reusing, or recycling materials that would otherwise end up in landfills.

Reduce healthcare CO2 emissions

However, waste is not the only way healthcare organizations may be contributing negatively to the environment; CO2 emissions is also a – costly – problem.

In fact, hospitals consume two and a half times more energy per square foot than any other commercial buildings, spending more than $8.5 billion dollars annually on energy. With new innovative technologies and unprecedented increased data usage, consumption demands are on the rise and this is evident in hospital data centers.

Healthcare organizations can reduce their data center’s carbon footprint by tapping into renewable energy sources. In addition to being environmentally and socially responsible, renewable energy is also cost-effective and cost certain. This means renewable energy costs are stable and healthcare organizations can take advantage of longer-term fixed contracts.

Take advantage of ILM and reduce waste in healthcare

When healthcare organizations implement more sustainable information management processes, materials, technologies and solutions, they can truly elevate sustainability while also driving real, measurable business outcomes.

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