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Hurricane Harvey and Potential Health Concerns

With already 50+ inches of water on the ground Hurricane Harvey is bound to be one of the worst weather disasters in United States history. Seventy people have died, 6,000 have been rescued, and over 30,000 are packed into convention centers which are maxed to capacity. Unfortunately, the damage is far from over. Rain is scheduled in the forecast through  early September with no where to go. Levees and dams in eastern Texas are struggling to contain massive amounts of water and local residents have been instructed to evacuate.

Assuming your neighborhood has not been evacuated it is best to stay indoors avoiding the deep waters. If your unsure, its best to go to one of the many shelters that are dispersed from south east to central Texas. Though the claim from the media that these shelters have been maxed out, over 90% are still ready and able to handle more occupants.  Over there you will be given the basic essentials such as food, clothing, and shelter.

harvey_flood_map

What are the health risks that come with historic storm Harvey?

With major flooding health officials are warning about an increased risk of illnesses and exposure to hazards such as medical waste.  When local residents sink their feet into knee deep waters it is unknown of what they are exposing the body to. Besides for the major risk of drowning there are risks to bacterial diseases, carbon monoxide poisoning, mosquito-borne illnesses, viral infections and other hazards.

  • Bacterial Disease: For many of the city’s residents, contact with floodwater is unavoidable, putting them at risk for diarrhea-causing bacterial infections. With many in shelters the close contact could be extremely harmful especially with the young and old
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:  Any room in a building can harbour a CO emitting appliance in flooding; wood burners and rarely used chimney flues may become particularly problematic. When entering a home in a flood be sure to be equipped with a battery powered carbon monoxide detector.
  • Mosquito-Borne Illnesses: Settling waters are breeding spots for mosquito which makes it easy to lay eggs and hatch larva.  The CDC defines mosquito diseases that are spread to people include: Zika virus, West Nile virus, Chikungunya virus, dengue, and malaria.
  • Viral Infections: The WHO gives the risk of two disease types: One includes, water-borne diseases, such as typhoid fever, cholera, leptospirosis and hepatitis A. The others are classified as Vector-borne diseases, such as malaria, dengue and dengue haemorrhagic fever, yellow fever, and West Nile Fever.
  • Other Hazards: There is always the classic hazards which come with a flood such as flash & river flooding, burn scars/debris flows,dry wash, and dam breaks/levee failure. In addition, when a medical facility is flooded there are risks for coming in contact with medical waste which lacks proper disposal. If one sees floating medical waste he should alert local authorities which will handle the material. Remember, never touch any used syringe, or material that has come in contact with bodily fluids.

With the fourth largest city in the United States under water, Houston needs your financial support. With your donation you can make the difference and expedite getting a family back in a safe home. MedAssure Service’s provides you with a direct link so you could give to the people of Texas.

       Let the Lone Star State Be Alone No More!                            

Hazardous Waste Crimes & Why Does It Happen?

govenrment-officals-with-wasteBack In  May of 2013, Walmart plead guilty to criminal charges of dumping hazardous waste in California across 16 of its counties. This resulted in Walmart having to pay 82 million in fines for the illegal dumping of fertilizer and other hazardous wastes. The occurrence of the actual actions took place between the years 2003 through 2005. Apparently workers were not educated on how to identify potential hazardous waste. Ultimately the whistle blew and Walmart got smacked with a hefty fine because of waste disposal negligence.

On July 28, 2017 in Elmira, NY, the Chemung County Transfer Station was undergoing an inspection by the DEC. Reports of human remains and other medical waste that were dump there prompted the sudden closure and two day inspection by the DEC. Medical waste disposal going through a standard waste transfer station is dangerous and could pose a health risk to anyone whom come in contact with it.

In a best case scenario, if what occurred at the Chemung County Transfer Station is proven to be a one time occurrence there is still going to an investigation looming over the counties head. This means that OSHA will be on call at local hospitals and medical facilities making sure that medical waste is properly being disposed.

The Multi Million Dollar Question: So Why Do Hazardous Waste Crimes Happen?

First  of all lets not underestimate the level of severity for the fact that its called a crime. Improperly disposal of this waste type is no less than operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. The CDC estimates that 5.6 million workers in the health care industry and related occupations are at risk of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and others. Exposure to hazardous elements can be devastating on a much greater level than a DWI accident. One danger is contained while the other could lead to outbreak or results in numerous injuries for months and possibly years.

In most cases the reason why hazardous wastes are disposed is because of low level employees lack of knowledge on how to differentiate between safe and lethal elements. It should be protocal that anyone who potentially will interact with these items should carry a certification of being OSHA compliant. The reason as to why the fines are so great is show the severity of the violation. This will create an awareness in the community to get in line with the law or your at risk for an inspection. As the saying goes “negligence is bliss”.

Importance of Being OSHA Compliant

26243038 - work safety issues and concepts word cloud illustration. word collage concept.

Do Facilities Know The Importance of Being OSHA Compliant 

First: Lets discuss what is OSHA?

OSHA is the Occupational Safety Health Administration. It assures safe and healthful working conditions by setting and
enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance. This organization is the government watch dog to affirm that all facilities are safe and suitable for workers of all types. This includes nursing homes, hospitals, correction facilities, construction sites and other work place environments.

Second: So what happens if an event occurs in my facility?

Well, it depends on the type of the event and the public attention it receives. Last month after an accident at The Ohio State Fair, Cal/OSHA prompted the closing down of all Fire Ball rides across the United States. It wasn’t until August 1, 2017 that Cal/OSHA approved the re-opening of the Fire Ball.

But that’s not what you should be worried about. Opening and closing of rides is one thing but being slapped with a fine of $324,000 could be catastrophic to your practice. On November 22, 2017, OSHA fined the USPS Brooklyn Postal Service $324,059 for improperly handling workers’ exposure to bloodborne pathogens and hazardous materials. “Exposure to bloodborne pathogen hazards can result in serious or life-threatening illnesses,” Nadira Janack, director at OSHA’s Brooklyn area office. There is no safety zone when not being in compliance in the Occupational Safety Health Administration.

Third: What’s the chances that OSHA is going to inspect a small physicians office? 

Take a look at the pie chart and figure out how many employees are in your facility. It appears that the smaller your physician practice the higher the chance for getting an OSHA inspection. Government officials understand the dynamics of bigger organizations and know that they keep tabs on compliance. However local doctor offices maybe flanked or  unaware of what the law is and don’t always anticipate an inspection. Especially during a busy flu season who is committed to making sure all electronic data is secured. HIPAA violations are on the rise and you may want to reach out to your local IT guy to make sure your systems secured.

Size of Facility Chance of Inspection
1 – 9 32%
10 – 19 27%
20 – 29 27%
50 – 99 3%
100 – 249 3%
249+ 8%

MedAssure is not just about getting a medical waste pickup. It offers a complete OSHA Compliance Suite which is all online. Therefore your employees can learn on their schedule not taking up time when on call. In addition, your facility will be confident and ready when an inspection arises. Get OSHA Compliant Today.

Medical Waste Handling 101

Medical waste handling processes vary from state to state, but it’s important to know how to differentiate between different categories of medical waste in order to be able to properly segregate and dispose of them.  In general, anything that has come into contact with blood or body fluids (such as soiled dressings, sponges, drapes, lavage tubes, drainage sets, under-pads, and surgical gloves) falls under the category of infectious medical waste. As for the specifics, medical waste categories can, for the most part, be broken down into the following seven types.

1) Cultures and Stocks

What it is:

Infectious agents and associated biologicals, including cultures from medical and pathological laboratories; cultures and stocks of infectious agents from research and industrial laboratories; waste from the production of biologicals; discarded live and attenuated vaccines; and culture dishes and devices used to transfer, inoculate, and mix cultures.

What’s done with it:

Cultures and stocks can be packaged for disposal by an outside contractor.  Although states do not require it, many hospitals implement a policy of autoclaving this type of medical waste in the laboratory itself, out of fear that these highly-infectious specimens are more liable to cause infections to their handlers in the event of inadvertent exposure.

2) Human Blood and Blood Products

What it is:

Waste blood, serum, plasma and blood products.

What’s done with it:

This material can be packaged for disposal by an outside contractor.  Although states do not require it, many hospitals implement a policy of autoclaving this type of medical waste depending on where it is generated, out of fear that these highly-infectious materials are more liable to cause infections to their handlers in the event of inadvertent exposure.

3) Pathological Waste

What it is:

Pathological waste includes tissues, organs, body parts, and body fluids removed during surgery and autopsy.  From a microbiological standpoint, this type of material is not really different from cultures and stocks; but from a waste management standpoint, the States may require other management conditions.

What’s done with it:

Pathological wastes are always packaged separately for disposal, and typically incinerated. Some medical waste disposal companies have received approval for a ‘greener’ solution which entails sanitizing pathological waste through microwaves, after which the treated waste may be disposed of as ordinary solid waste in a waste-to-energy plant or landfill.

4) Sharps

What it is:

Sharps include hypodermic needles, syringes, scalpel blades, Pasteur pipettes, broken glass or other contaminated items that could potentially create a puncture wound or cut.

What’s done with it:

Sharps are collected separately, in puncture-proof containers.  Some medical waste disposal companies provide disposable sharps containers; others treat and return the facility’s reusable containers.

5) Chemotherapeutic Waste

What it is:

Chemotherapeutic wastes are drugs or agents utilized in chemotherapy and considered hazardous waste by USEPA-RCRA.  These are generally categorized by the EPA as P or U-listed wastes.

What’s done with it:

Due to its highly toxic nature, chemotherapy waste gets segregated in its own containers, with different labeling and colors so that it doesn’t get mixed up with the general medical waste.  This type of waste must be packaged in DOT approved containers, and removed by a hazardous waste disposal company (as opposed to a standard medical waste disposal company), after which it is generally incinerated.

6) Trace Chemotherapy Waste

What it is:

Trace chemotherapy waste includes items that have been used in administering chemotherapy (such as needles, syringes, etc.), and have come into contact with chemotherapy agents.

What’s done with it:

These items may be classified as regulated medical waste or as hazardous medical waste, depending on the type of chemical with which they have come into contact.  If the chemotherapy agent was a U-listed waste and the container meets the EPA’s empty container rule, the EPA considers trace chemotherapy articles to be regulated medical waste; however, if the chemotherapy agent was a P-listed waste, the item would have to be segregated as regulated hazardous waste (RCRA waste) and disposed of as such.

7) Isolation Waste

What it is:

Medical waste that has come into contact with a highly contagious or dangerous infectious disease – such as tuberculosis or ebola, which receives a Level 4 biomedical waste safety designation for handling as a DOT Div. 6.2 Category A Infectious substance

What’s done with it:

Different facilities maintain differing policies when it comes to the segregation and storage of isolation waste; but in general, the goal is to keep it separate so as to avoid the risk of infection.  For instance, some facilities may mandate autoclaving on hospital premises, or separate packaging and containers.

How to Keep Healthcare Employees Interested in Training

The healthcare industry is one of the places where thorough and adequate employee training and even retraining is absolutely necessary. Not only does it keep your healthcare facility operating smoothly and efficiently, but it also helps avoid potential compliance and regulatory issues, as well as dangerous or even deadly safety mishaps.

Not only does it keep your healthcare facility operating smoothly and efficiently, but it also helps avoid potential compliance and regulatory issues, as well as dangerous or even deadly safety mishaps.

While training is of the utmost importance throughout the healthcare industry, it is still difficult to keep employees motivated and engaged when it comes to learning. It’s tough to make these interesting areas for employees, and it’s not just the healthcare industry where this is a problem. Employees, in general, tend to lack a sense of engagement in learning and development, but that really isn’t an option in healthcare.

Employees, in general, tend to lack a sense of engagement in learning and development, but that really isn’t an option in healthcare.

So how can you keep your employees interested in training, so they’ll not just participate but also retain the information?

Link Training to Organizational Goals

Employees typically want to feel like they’re part of the success of the place they work. It can be motivating to feel as if they play an essential role and they’re also making a difference in their workplace.

A good way to do this is by creating a clear link between employees’ job roles and associated training, and the larger organizational objectives.

For example, you can demonstrate how medical waste compliance training will contribute to more patient safety.

At the individual level, you can also create a link between successfully creating training milestones and career advancement. Employees tend to feel significantly more motivated if they feel like they’re working on something that’s going to benefit their career.

Employees tend to feel significantly more motivated if they feel like they’re working on something that’s going to benefit their career.

Let Employees Make Their Own Training Decisions

No two employees are exactly alike, and everyone within your healthcare organization is going to have a different learning style. Some employees might prefer learning the old-fashioned way, by reading through materials and taking notes.

Some employees might prefer learning the old-fashioned way, by reading through materials and taking notes.

Others might prefer interacting with fellow trainees and instructors and engaging in conversations. You may also have employees who like watching videos or listening to audio.

The best way to keep employees more interested in training is to let them make decisions whenever possible about how they’ll learn.

Offer a variety of options and let them choose the learning paths that work best for them.

Make It Fun

Compliance and regulatory training in the healthcare industry might not seem like the most fun or exciting area of study, but as an employer, you can make it somewhat more fun for your employees.

One good way to get employees motivated and more likely to retain information is by creating a friendly competition among employees.

You can offer rewards (which don’t have to be monetary to work well) to those employees who perform well on post-training assessments.

Sometimes the reward can be as simple as recognition that can keep employees motivated.

Eliminate Unnecessary Training

You want your healthcare employees to engaged in training, but you aren’t going to achieve that if you’re overloading them with a lot of unnecessary information.

Keep training to a need-to-know basis so that employees know all of the areas they’re being trained in are essential, and they don’t become bogged down with irrelevant content.

Training employees is one of the biggest challenges faced by healthcare organizations, but also one of the most important. Tips like the ones above can make sure employees stay present in their training, and take value from it so they can then create value for the entire organization.

Tips like the ones above can make sure employees stay present in their training, and take value from it so they can then create value for the entire organization.

Top Ways To Build Patient Loyalty and Retention

There was a time when the concept of patient loyalty in the healthcare industry wasn’t necessarily a big priority if at all.

Now, however, healthcare has taken on the requirements of any business, and one of those is a strong, loyal customer base, or in this case, patient base.

Historically, healthcare and its methods of delivery weren’t seen as consumer-oriented. Most patients utilized healthcare plans with low deductibles, and rather than relying on their own research, these patients relied mostly on referrals from primary care providers.

Now, however, there is more cost sharing on the part of patients, which is leading to an increased sense of competition throughout the industry.

So how can you build loyal patients and focus on retention in your practice or facility?

Improve Efficiency

Efficiency is paramount in a competition-driven model, and medical practices, hospitals, and other facilities need to make sure they’re doing everything they can to improve efficiency and reduce wait times.

After 30 minutes spent waiting, patients tend to become frustrated, and that’s not something that can happen in today’s model of the medical industry.

Customer Service Training

Along with regulatory and compliance training, employees in medical facilities also need to be trained in customer service best practices.

The opinion a patient forms about a medical practice or facility starts as soon as they call to make their first appointment, and medical organizations now have to be completely in the business of customer service as much as anything else.

Everyone in a medical organization should be trained in customer service, starting with the administrative team, all the way through care providers and billing specialists.

Marketing and Social Media

Many healthcare businesses have been slow to embrace the use of digital marketing and social media, but it’s an essential component of patient loyalty and retention.

Social media is one of the biggest drivers of the consumers’ experience and perception across industries, and it’s also increasingly where people go to find information and updates.

The benefits of utilizing social media in healthcare include the ability to shape and impact the discussion in your niche or for your practice, and it also gives you a direct, inexpensive way to stay in constant contact and communication with patients.

It can also be used as a valuable way to shape the idea that you’re an authority, which is important to people when they’re making health care decisions.

Empowering Patients

As a final note, if you want to build patient loyalty and retention, patients should feel like they’re an integral part of their healthcare and decision-making.

This means these facilities need to put their time into creating education and informational resources for patients.

And also ensure that key care providers are trained in how to effectively communicate with patients, as well as how to help them understand their decisions and guide their decision-making process in a way that’s going to leave patients feeling like they’re in the loop, rather than being a bystander in their own healthcare.

What a Regulated Medical Waste Management Service Can Do for You

If you’re in the medical services field, whether research or patient administration, you probably deal with a lot of regulated medical waste (RMW), which must be disposed of properly according to both state and federal laws.

It’s an important part of running a medical business, since you don’t want to risk contaminating others with

However, waste management isn’t easy to handle yourself. Your specialty should be in running the business or administering to your patients, not carting off the waste. Thankfully, medical waste management programs can help.

These programs have been created to meet the needs of health institutions and can handle any aspect of medical waste services, from proper disposal to adhering to compliance regulations. Here are some of the ways that an RMW management service can help you.

Know the Ins and Outs of RMW

A quality RMW management company is extremely knowledgeable about handling and disposing of RMW in the safest manner possible. An RMW will collect anything that qualifies as bio-hazardous waste or RMW, including:

  • Pathological Waste: tissues, organs, body parts, and bodily fluids
  • Human Blood and Blood Products: blood, serum, plasma
  • Infectious Agents (Microbiological Waste): culture dishes, discarded vaccines (live and attenuated), and any devices used to transfer, inoculate, and mix specimens
  • Contaminated Sharps: hypodermic needles, syringes, scalpel blades, Pasteur pipettes, and broken glass
  • Isolation Waste: waste from patients in quarantine

Your RMW management service will dispose of each of these waste products according to state and federal law; 90 percent of the time that means the waste will be incinerated at a secure facility.

If a state does not allow incineration based on MWI standards, the waste will be disposed of through microwave technology, steam sterilization, electro pyrolysis, or chemical mechanical systems. Your RMW management service will know exactly how your waste should be disposed of and make it happen for you.

Pick Up Services

Most RMW services will have their own fleet of delivery trucks to pick up your medical waste.

They can provide you with designated bins for solid bio hazardous waste (contaminated non-sharps), liquid bio hazardous waste (blood products, fluids), bio hazardous sharps (needles, scalpels), and pathological waste (organs, tissues). Each waste has its own processing to go through after being disposed, so the bins make it easier on everyone involved.

They can provide you with designated bins for solid bio hazardous waste (contaminated non-sharps), liquid bio hazardous waste (blood products, fluids), bio hazardous sharps (needles, scalpels), and pathological waste (organs, tissues). Each waste has its own processing to go through after being disposed, so the bins make it easier on everyone involved.

After the waste has left your hands and is set out for pickup, you won’t have to think about it again. The professionals at RMW management facilities will use the utmost care when handling the waste and

The professionals at RMW management facilities will use the utmost care when handling the waste and transferring it to the disposal site. Also, assuming the matter was disposed of correctly, once the waste has left your property and entered the hands of the RMW specialists, you are released from liability.

Improve Your Processes

If you’re spending more time worrying about taking care of your medical waste than attending to your business or services, that’s an inefficient use of your time. An RMW company can help you improve your processes and save you valuable resources.

Once you sign on with an RMW servicer, they will give you guidelines and standards to follow when disposing of your waste. That way, you can ensure that you’re adhering to all regulations and won’t have any legal problems or safety hazards on your hands.

A waste management service is especially beneficial when it comes to surgical procedures. You’re probably interested in making the operating room more sustainable and functional, right? There are several steps you can take to maintain a green operating room, and a waste management company can help.

These include educating the staff on waste management, conducting waste audits, removing waste immediately following surgeries, and offering reusable waste containers.

They will also work with your schedule to pick up your waste and arrange a time that’s convenient for you. Overall, you can spend your time helping patients and clients instead of focusing on the technical aspects of the job.

Reduce Your Waste Management Costs

Though it seems like you’d be able to save money by disposing of your medical waste yourself, that’s not always true. You could fall victim to unnecessary fees and services at disposal facilities, not to mention an increased labor cost for those assigned to take care of the disposal.

A good RMW service will help you cut through the red tape at disposal facilities and find you the best deals for their services. If you find the right company, they can actually help you to save money on your disposal processes.

As you choose a company that’s right for you, look for a service that will calculate a fair rate specifically for your company.

Too many companies will charge you a flat rate for their services, even if your waste disposal is irregular. You need a company that will charge you based on how much you’ll use the service. Also, avoid companies that will charge you a one-size-fits-all compliance fee.

With this in mind, recognize that you can find a quality service that works with you, without being forced to pay costly and unnecessary fees.

 

Top Tips for Better Cyber Security in Health Care

Healthcare facilities large and small face a myriad of compliance and regulatory-related issues, from ensuring things like medical waste is professionally handled, to making sure patient data and information remains secure.

One of the biggest challenges many medical and healthcare-related companies are facing right now is the need for more rigorous IT and cyber security.

According to BeckersHospitalReview.com, based on a report from Risk Based Security, there were 4,149 total data and information breaches in 2016, exposing more than 4.2 billion records.

Among those, the medical sector account for 9.2 percent of total reported breaches.

Not being adequately protected against such threats represents a big problem for businesses in the healthcare industry, and the following are some best practices to follow to protect your organization and your patients.

Conduct a Risk Audit

One of the biggest problems many healthcare facilities, large and small, have regarding cyber and IT security is the fact that they don’t know where weakness exists. In fact, the may not even realize what a threat cyber security issues are to their organizations and their patient’s information.

Many healthcare organizations face budgetary issues as well, however, so doing a thorough risk assessment and audit can be helpful.

It not only shows you where there are potential issues and areas where threats could evolve, but it also helps you tailor your IT security spending to only the places where it’s most needed.

Stay Up-To-Date

A big problem, particularly in smaller healthcare facilities and organizations, is as simple as not staying up-to-date on things such as anti-virus software and protection.

It’s important that everything remains fully updated, and this is best handled by either assigning a point person to ensure it’s done or setting up your system to complete automatic updates.

Additionally, you’ll want to check with the developer of your EHR software to see whether or not they maintain a connection to the platform.

Many software developers will do this so they can make updates and provide support, which is fine, but if that is the case, you should make sure there is a firewall in place.

Many healthcare organizations are also opting to request their EHR developer disable their access when they’re not working with the software.

Comprehensive Employee Training

Your first line of defense against cybersecurity threats isn’t necessarily based on the technological protections you put in place.

Even more important than that is the role of employees.

Just as with environmental and waste management compliance issues, employees need to be thoroughly and regularly trained on best practices for IT and cyber security.

Employees need to understand not just how to protect the organization, but also why it’s so essential.

Training should be held every year, even for long-time employees, because this is an area that’s continuously evolving and best practices are always changing.

Protecting the information of patients is one of the top priorities for medical facilities, and with cyber attacks become an increasing threat, it’s more important than ever to be proactive against potential breaches.

Top Ways to Improve Pharmacy Efficiency

Efficiency is a major priority in pharmacy settings. It’s essential that pharmacies and the staff members who work in them have the ability and means to fill prescriptions efficiently without sacrificing qualify of service.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to maintain an efficient pharmacy in many businesses, yet it’s more important than ever, particularly with healthcare reform and quality ratings making such a significant impact in the industry.

Pharmacy employees are being forced to consider the meeting of rigorous performance standards, cost-cutting, and an ever-increasing push by customers to have fast service.

The following are some easy ways pharmacies can work toward improving their overall level of efficiency, even the midst of major challenges.

Perform An Audit

Before a pharmacy can really know where inefficiencies exist, they need to do a full review of processes and workflows. Pharmacy staff may realize they’re not operating at a peak level of efficiency, but they may not know what that’s stemming from.

For example, they may see customer dissatisfaction, but without knowing the root cause of where that’s coming from, it’s difficult to alleviate the problem.

Rely on Automation When Possible

When all of the pharmacists and technicians in a pharmacy are focusing on only the highest-level tasks their education or certification provides, then lower level tasks can be dealt with either through entry-level employees or automation.

This ensures that things are moving along at the peak level of efficiency in a pharmacy when higher-level employees aren’t spending their time on tasks that could be better completed either by another employee or with technology.

Focus on Employee Training

A pharmacy may already have standards in place for everything ranging from customer service to disposal of expired medicines, but if employees aren’t well-trained on these procedures they’re essentially useless.

It’s important for pharmacies to not only train new employees on standards, procedures, and protocols but also to regularly refresh that training even for long-term employees.

When everyone in the pharmacy is well aware of standardized procedures, it can remove a lot of the uncertainty and errors that lead to inefficiency.

Focus on Inventory Management

A big problem many pharmacies face is having too much or too little inventory. If some resources and time and attention can be put toward inventory on a regular basis, it can save a lot of time and difficulties in other areas.

It’s important to maximize usage of inventory systems, and do regular checks to see what moves quickly and what tends to sit on the shelves.

The National Community Pharmacy Association recommends reviewing inventory levels quarterly and comparing them against trends in the area, as well as assigning technicians to manage drugs that tend to move slowly, and returning unused drugs to their manufacturers.

The NCPA also recommends pharmacists develop relationships with patients so they can be kept aware, ahead of time, when they might need a drug that’s rare or expensive.

That way, the drug can be ordered in a timely way, but the pharmacy doesn’t have to stock it unnecessarily.

When pharmacies focus on efficiency, the result is often a greater level of patient satisfaction, which can not only make for a better operational process but also better performance metric ratings.

Why Is It So Important That Medical Waste Be Taken Care of Properly?

surgical wasteLaissez Faire can be a good idea and all, but there are certain industries that absolutely need government regulation.

Namely, the hospital waste treatment industry.

Here’s why:

A Large Portion of Hospital Wastes Are Dangerous.
There are four different types of medical waste. There’s general waste, infectious medical waste, radioactive waste, and hazardous waste.

General waste refers to the type of garbage and trash you might normally find in a household, and makes up about 80% of the waste generated by healthcare activities. However, 20% of all medical waste is still a lot.

Health care facilities generate about 2 million tons of medical and surgical wastes each year, which breaks down to about 5,500 tons of waste generated each day. That’s 1,100 tons — 2,200,000 pounds — of hospital and surgical wastes that’s considered to be dangerous, the majority of which (15%) is infectious and anatomic waste.

Hazardous Medical Waste Can Pose a Huge Threat to People’s Health.
If hospital and surgical wastes are mishandled, people could get hurt, sick, or infected. Each year, about 16 billion injections are administered across the world, but not all are properly disposed of. According to estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO), some 260,000 new HIV infections were directly related to the mismanagement of needles and syringes.

Mishandling Medical Waste Can Negatively Impact the Environment.
If not handled correctly, hospital and surgical wastes could wind up severely damaging the environment. One of the most common medical waste disposal methods is incineration. Though it works quite well, it can actually pollute the environment if not done correctly.

During the Ebola crisis, Liberia was warned not to use old incinerators to destroy all of the hospital and surgical waste produced by the pandemic by WHO, as it could release chemicals into the air and pollute the West African country’s environment. However, the overwhelming amount of medical waste produced by Ebola forced the nation to use them.

Hospital and surgical wastes need to be handled correctly.

If not, people could get hurt.

If you have any questions about how medical waste is managed, feel free to share in the comments.

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