61 - Best Practices for Optimal Waste Segregation Management in the Healthcare System
SUBJECT: Best Practices for Optimal Waste Segregation Management in the Healthcare System
Introduction: Waste generated by healthcare systems can be a significant problem if not properly handled. Poor management of health care waste potentially exposes health care workers, waste handlers, patients and the community at large to infection, toxic effects and injuries, and risks polluting the environment. It is absolutely essential that all medical waste materials be segregated at the point of generation, appropriately treated, and disposed of in a safe and efficacious manner. Healthcare waste is a by-product of providing healthcare services that includes sharps, non-sharps, blood, body parts, hazardous and non-hazardous pharmaceuticals and chemicals, medical devices, cytotoxic drugs, controlled substances, radioactive materials, and all substances disposed of during the course of providing patient care. Because handling of waste is highly variable among different healthcare entities, we sought to define best practice standards that would ensure optimal waste management.
Methods: We surveyed twenty large healthcare systems throughout the United States and Canada that have robust waste management programs. We compiled data from waste segregation charts posted at each facility and correlated their procedures and methods for separating waste at point of disposal. We developed a template illustrating eight broad categories, which included Pharmaceutical Waste, Regulated Medical Waste, Hazardous Waste, Controlled Substances, Cytotoxic Agents, Radioactive Drugs, Special Disposal and Recycling, and General Trash and Glass. Each category was compared with information posted at the various facilities. Inconsistent or omitted information was identified. We then used aggregate data compiled from this gap analysis to formulate an optimal waste segregation chart based on safety, efficacy, logistical considerations, and cost containment.
Results: An optimal waste segregation guide was developed to provide healthcare system employees with a resource that will ensure regulatory compliance with local, state, federal and accreditation organizations with respect to all waste generated in the healthcare system.
Disclosure(s): Frank Breve - C2R Global Manufacturing, Inc. - Consultant/Speakers' Bureau