Green Medical PracticeThese Epocrates members are healing the planet as well as their patients. Read about their experiences and recommendations, and post your own “green” tips and comments below.
“I’m a family physician in a suburb of Philadelphia with 3 internists. We’ve owned and run our practice independently for almost 16 years. Since I’m passionate about protecting our planet, we’re doing a lot to make our practice as “green” as possible. For example:
- Using recycled paper products (NOT Kleenex!)
- All light fixtures are fluorescent. When we renovated and downsized our office 2 years ago, we moved the waiting room and reception area so they have windows (for natural light and ventilation) and installed the most energy-efficient lighting available.
- Our landlord planted trees in the parking lot (on his own).
- All the thermostats are clock thermostats.
- Computers and office equipment are Energy Star.
- Copies of multiple pages are 2-sided.
- The coffee maker is on a timer, so it heats only when the office is open.
- We recycle all beverage containers, alcohol bottles, paper, and cardboard.
- E-prescribing eliminates most paper prescriptions, and the patients love it!
- Electronic referrals are paperless.
- Finally, Epocrates on our PDAs makes a paper PDR unnecessary!”
“The things we do aren’t difficult to accomplish but when you add them up they are having an impact: Conserving electricity by closing blinds whenever possible; shutting off computers and other office equipment at night and especially on weekends and holidays; replacing all fluorescent fixtures with energy-conserving bulbs; using a timer-controlled thermostat; buying a low-energy consumption refrigerator; re-cycling all paper, plastic, aluminum, and cardboard products; converting to an EMR system with electronic billing; utilizing cloth drapes, not paper, and ceramic cups, not disposable; walking to work; sharing rides whenever possible.”
“Working as a family physician in Brazil is challenging. I was asked to visit a woman who had just had a baby and was complaining of shortness of breath. When I arrived I noticed a pile of garbage on fire outside her house with smoke coming out, a bad habit of her husband and many others in that district who consider burning easier than putting the garbage out once a week for the collector. They were completely ignorant about the risks for their own health and the environment. That was the starting point for a program of community education and working with local authorities to implement a rational garbage handling and recycling program.”
“I have a small private practice. I have recycled paper, including throw-away magazines, and all the mail that comes across my desk that is unidentified. I switched from providing bottled water for my staff to a standing cooler/hot water dispenser. I reuse most of the paper that has no identifiers on the back for copying. I turn off lights as soon as the day is done. Most of my lighting is fluorescent. If I sample a few weeks’ worth of meds in bottles, I combine them and recycle the plastic and cardboard boxes. I reuse chart covers that have been lightly used when shredding old charts. I use cloth gowns and a cleaning service. I reuse notebooks from conferences. Thank goodness, though, that we no longer have to sharpen and reuse needles and syringes like our predecessors. Nothing fancy here but I do what I can.”
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