Before I get deeper into the waste management for health care, it is imperative to understand waste and waste management in general.
So, what is a waste? Well, your usual answer will be, it depends. You are absolutely right. Waste is something which is no longer of any use for the immediate owner of that stuff. Obviously, different entities can have different expectations from same thing. A food which has reached its expiry date may be rotten for a human being, while it can become a cause of feast for the street dogs.
Wastes can be broadly classified as
- Industrial waste — produced by industry activity, such as factories, mills, and mines.
- Municipal waste — produced by daily human activity
- Health care waste — produced by hospitals and other health care facilities
As an individual, we seem to take Municipal waste as something on which we have right to contribute. Industrial waste is something about which we make some noise related to water pollution, emission of hazardous gas and radioactive material, and government occasionally promises to do something.
Do we ever talk about health care waste? Hardly! Well the fact is that health care waste management is generally ignored. Only few hospitals have a mechanism to segregate wastes in the right categories. Some of the hospital disposes these wastes along with the municipal waste and thus exposes the whole society to the infection and hazardous effect of the medical wastes.
This is an area where everyone involved in the health care needs to contribute. As an IT solution provider, we can provide functionality like waste auditing to reduce, reuse, recycle and dispose wastes more effectively. However, it is imperative that top management of the health care organizations must start taking waste management seriously. They should train their staffs to understand importance of effective waste management and they should be continuously looking for improvement in this.