MUMC Switches to Environmentally Friendly Surgical Kits

(November 17, 2008) - In an effort to reduce waste and improve its overall impact on the environment, Memorial University Medical Center (MUMC) now uses a mix of both disposable and reusable products in its operating rooms, catheterization lab, labor and delivery rooms, and outpatient surgery departments.

In September, MUMC became the first acute-care facility in the United States to begin using the new Hybrid Preference Pack™ from the healthcare service companies Cardinal Health and SRI Surgical®. These ready-to-use kits help hospitals improve environmental sustainability, because they combine a strategic mix of disposable surgical components. The kits MUMC uses contain products such as surgical gowns, back-table and mayo stand covers, towels, and stainless basin sets that can be sterilized and re-used after a procedure. Each kit also contains disposable items such as skin preparation products, surgical patient drapes, sponges, needles, and syringes that cannot be re-used.

"The transition to the hybrid packs has been remarkably smooth. The surgeons have readily accepted the reusable gowns and drapes. We have significantly diminished our negative impact on the environment while saving a considerable amount of money," said Carl Boyd, M.D., medical director of perioperative services at MUMC.

The processing plants owned by SRI Surgical to prep products for reuse incorporate water management systems that reclaim 76 percent of all incoming water. They also reduce energy use with efficient direct fire water heaters and heat exchangers. Friendly wash chemicals and steam sterilization are also part of SRI's commitment to protecting the environment. Reusable products are 100 percent inspected, repaired when needed, and sterilized properly before the next use.

Memorial University Medical Center is a two-state healthcare organization serving a 35-county area in southeast Georgia and southern South Carolina. The system includes its flagship hospital, a 530-bed academic medical center; Memorial primary and specialty care physician networks; a major medical education program; business and industry services; and NurseOne, a 24-hour call center.