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Healthcare Industries: contribution to Corporate Social Responsibility by going Green

The aim of this blog is to reach out to individuals, SMEs, clinic chains and hospitals to lend a hand in the betterment of our environment, society and saving the planet.

Concerns of our deteriorating social and geographical environment has gained popularity in recent times. Global Warming, Deforestation, Oil Spills; you name it! Our desires and demands for consumption is costing us the longevity of our planet. If not all, at least most of us are aware of the conditions we live in today. But do we ever question ourselves on:

  • What is that we can do to make difference, to enhance change?
  • How can we as global citizens participate and contribute toward the betterment of our environment and society?
  • Are we making a difference by helping in preserving our environment or destroying it?

Well, no one is too big or small to make a difference. Drops of water make up the ocean!

For Example:
The Healthcare Industry and CSR:
The Healthcare industry has always been under scrutiny with their adverse effects on the environment and society. From bombarding of giant Pharmaceutical Companies like GlaxoSmithKline on unethical marketing of Antidepressants such as Paxil, which were sold to adolescents (Refer Huffington Post 2012: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/a-drugmakers-ethical-mist_b_1729002.html?section=india), to WHO publishing facts such as 15% of the total Healthcare Industry Waste is considered as hazardous material that may be infectious, toxic or radioactive (Refer WHO Media Centre: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs253/en/).

 

Repercussions:
Paxil sold to teenagers were causing dependency issues and an increasing number of teenage suicides.

Healthcare Industry Waste can result in contaminated drinking water through landfills, pollution and adverse health effects caused through Incineration of waste.

 

So what is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?
Most us of us reading this blog must already know what CSR is, the term is self-explanatory. But just like any other article or blog, allow me to re-emphasise and give you a small introduction on what CSR is.

Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR is a form of self-awareness and initiative taken by a Corporation to analyse the company’s effect on the Environment and Society. It is a responsibility taken to contribute towards Environmental and Social wellbeing.

Now the question is; how are healthcare corporations taking responsibility for their actions?

Referring to example of GlaxoSmithKline, they decided to pay the government $3 billion in a record health care fraud settlement. The Drug of course is completely prohibited in Europe and its use in the US is also under tight restrictions.

With regards to healthcare waste, WHO has set up guidelines for waste management and control. Government/Local support and commitment is required universally to improve upon this.

 

Your Role:
All of us can have an opinion and express the evils of the healthcare industry and their unethical practises blaming it on larger corporations. Can we take responsibility for our individual actions and contribute to change?

The Answer is YES, you can!

To start with:
Online Shopping: when we make purchases and receive our delivery, have we ever given thought on the amount of material used in the packaging? Is it really required?
Banking: Paperless Statements?
Educational Institutions: Written assignments on paper or submit them digitally?
Medicals: Paper Prescriptions and Lab Reports or Digital Copies of them?

You may be a Doctor, a clinic owner, a clinic chain owner, an employee within the industry and wonder how all of this makes a difference to you! From examples of Online Shopping to ills of giant Pharmaceutical Companies and Educational Institutions!

It makes a difference, because each one of us can enhance change! From Supplier to Consumer, from Doctor to Patient, from Schools to Students. Technology has given us the opportunity to reduce our consumption of paper and save anything and everything digitally. Let us save our Trees! Why focus on planting new ones when we can preserve what we already have and add to it!

Do we prefer old school photo prints or digital pictures on our smartphones?! We are an evolving species, so why not take advantage of what is available in abundance than to exploit the core of our existence.

As a Doctor you can go digital, save ink and paper by using an EMR and sending out E-prescriptions. As a Patient and a global citizen I will be more than happy to receive an E-prescription rather than a paper one that will eventually be lost or thrown in the bin!

 

EMRs and how they can aid CSR:
While most EMR users think by going digital they are advancing with technology, but unknowingly they are also positively contributing to the betterment of our environment. Our job is to spread awareness and promote the use of EMR.

Did you know?

  • Each Patient Visit requires the use of approximately 10-13 pieces of paper.
  • On an average most Doctors see about 50-99 Patients per week.
  • Therefore each Doctor accumulates around 975 pages of paper work each week.
  • About 1000 tons of paper is consumed by the healthcare industry each year, causing storage problems and environmental harm.

(Reference: http://hitconsultant.net/2012/04/03/infographic-ehr-vs-traditional-paper-records/)

 

So what is your choice, do you want to lend a hand and enhance environmental wellbeing?

 

Go Digital, Go Paperless, Go Green, choose the right EMR!