After spending several nights in the local children’s hospital with my daughter this week, I’ve seen first-hand how important it is for the health care industry to focus on environmental issues. Thankfully, there is already a industry-specific sustainability program in place, the Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI). More than 500 hospitals will commit to a three-year sustainability program as part of the HHI.

 

During this three-year program, participating hospitals will address six environmental areas. These six topics are called HHI Challenges and include:

 

  • Engaged Leadership - supporting an organization-wide sustainability initiative
  • Healthier Foods – healthier food choices for not just the patients but also staff and visitors
  • Leaner Energy – reducing energy use and the institution’s carbon footprint
  • Less Waste – reduce waste and also boost recycling rates
  • Safer Chemicals – using more earth- and people-friendly chemicals
  • Smarter Purchasing – sourcing environmentally preferable products
 

The Healthier Hospitals Initiative website has a directory of hospital systems participating in the challenge and unfortunately I didn’t see the children’s hospital my daughter stayed at on the list.

 

Although the hospital isn’t participating, I did notice that the cafeteria food looked a lot different than I remember. My daughter could choose her own food items from a room service menu that included a wide variety of fresh fruit, vegetables, salads and vegetarian options.

 

Perhaps our local hospital system and the two children’s hospitals will see the impact of the first three-year sustainability challenge period and sign on for a future challenge.