From organic food to solar energy to eco-friendly cleaning supplies, the shift toward environmentally sound policies and practices is expanding across business sectors throughout the world – and healthcare is no exception.
As local hospitals and group MSOs in your area start undertaking efforts to “go green,” you may be wondering what benefits a similar transition would have on your practice.
Learn the key advantages to becoming environmentally friendly and some steps you should take toward your own office’s sustainability initiatives.
Save Money on Utilities
Delaying your practice’s move toward increased environmental health? For practices with established processes, existing equipment and rented office space, the concept of becoming eco-friendly can seem like little more than an expensive nuisance – a luxury consideration for large provider groups with funds to spare on recycled wallpaper, reclaimed hardwood flooring and chemical-free sterilization kits.
But becoming a more environmentally sound practice doesn’t require that you undertake an all-or-nothing switch to eco-perfection. Small, simple changes can have a big impact on your energy consumption levels – and your expenses.
According to BSM Consulting, adjusting the settings on your office’s thermostat by just a degree or two can save you about 10 percent on your electric bill. Plus, using compact fluorescent lights will save you 75% more energy than you’re using to illuminate your space with incandescent bulbs, which is a change you’ll notice on your monthly bills.
The same goes when you use energy-saving settings on your PCs and unplug other office equipment when it’s not in use. And if you’re really looking to save on energy costs, it’s a wise choice to ditch old equipment altogether in favor of newer, more efficient hardware.
We’re not saying you should overhaul your office and throw out every clunky device on your floor. Just keep energy efficiency in mind when you’re shopping for new electronics. Visit www.energystar.gov/smallbiz for information on waste-reducing office equipment, which tends to show a quick return on investment.
Decreasing your office’s water consumption is another easy way to lower costs and enhance your eco-consciousness. And if you not doing it already, commit to recycling your office’s waste wherever possible. It may not save you any money, but it may save a tree – and it’s usually free of charge.
Appeal to More Patients
These days, it’s not just government organizations like the EPA that care about environmentally sound policies. Patients are increasingly aware of environmental issues, and studies indicate that they care more about supporting eco-friendly businesses than you may think.
“We are approaching a tipping point,” says Greg DiMedio, CEO of Greener Expressions. “Research shows us there are more than 125 million active consumers in the U.S. green marketplace, and 75 percent of them feel it is very important for companies to embrace green. They don’t expect perfection, but they do expect organizations to be honest and transparent about their efforts to become more sustainable.”
American citizens have grown accustomed to buying from companies that are committed to environmentally sound practices. Household names like Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, Hasbro, Starbucks, Staples and even Wal-Mart routinely make lists of the world’s top green companies.
So why should consumers expect less from their healthcare providers?
If you’re working towards becoming a green medical practice, an extra motivating factor to spur you forward is the enhanced marketability of environmentally sound practicing – a competitive differentiator that can help you gain more patient attention (and appointments) in your local community.
Check out the Green Doctor Office Program, a service of the Florida Medical Association, to learn more about what steps to take to become officially “environmentally healthy” at your practice. Once you’re compliant, promote your eco-friendly measures in accordance with the green marketing guidelines of the federal trade commission.
With even just a little extra eco-consciousness, you may quickly see results in your patient base and your pocketbook. Who knows – you may be investing in reclaimed hardwood floors in no time.
How have you undertaken environmentally friendly initiatives at your practice?