Responsible medical device strategies can help curb rising cost of health care

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Responsible medical device strategies can help curb rising cost of health care

August 25, 2010

Reprocessing programs can help hospitals see green in more ways than one. While positively impacting the bottom line, reprocessing programs also divert waste and support sustainability initiatives within facilities. Let's use the operating room (O/R) as an example. It is estimated the O/R generates 20 to 30 percent of a facility's waste. Much of that waste is disposed of as regulated medical waste, which costs 10 to 15 times more to dispose of than regular waste. Today, reprocessing is one of the most significant ways operating rooms can reduce their environmental footprint. And while many sustainability initiatives can be costly, reprocessing is a unique solution that simultaneously saves money while improving environmental responsibility. In 2009, Ascent helped its health care partners reduce overall disposable waste by 5.3 million pounds.

Considering the significant savings and the ability of reprocessing programs to reduce the environmental footprint of health care, it's not surprising interest in and use of reprocessed devices among hospitals have grown very rapidly over the past few years. Industry analysts project that over the next five years, the reprocessing industry will grow 20 percent year-over-year. The acceptance of reprocessing programs as a smart business decision reflects a paradigm shift in the industry. It's not just about having the best product anymore; it's about having the best product while considering how using that product impacts the hospital's performance overall. That philosophy will continue to drive the future of responsible medical device strategies.

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Lars Thording is senior director of marketing for Ascent. He can be reached at For more information on Ascent, visit

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