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Spotlight on Sustainable Healthcare

Implementing Annual E-Training on Zero Waste by 2030: A Sustainability & Regulatory Training

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) has embarked on a Zero Waste by 2030 initiative, targeting over 80 percent diversion of non-hazardous solid waste from landfills or incineration. To achieve this goal, they implemented an annual E-Training on Sustainability & Regulatory Training, educating over 12,000 employees in 2023. The interactive training, segmented by hospital areas, clarifies waste management policies, resulting in 88 percent of employees feeling engaged and provided with new information, while 91 percent expressed increased motivation to adhere to proper material management practices.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) is an academic medical center located in the heart of the Longwood Medical Area (LMA) in Boston.

BIDMC is part of Beth Israel Lahey Health and is a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. They are a health care system that brings together academic medical centers and teaching hospitals, community and specialty hospitals, and more than 4,000 physicians and 35,000 employees in a shared mission to expand access to great care and advance the science and practice of medicine through groundbreaking research and education.

BIDMC’s passion is caring for their patients like they are family, discovering new therapies and cures using the most advanced technologies, and inspiring and teaching the caregivers and investigators of tomorrow. They believe in putting people at the center of everything they do to provide extraordinary care every day.

Developing an Organization-wide Skill Set

BIDMC has set a Zero Waste by 2030 goal, which they have defined as over 80 percent diversion of non-hazardous solid waste diverted from landfill or incineration.
While this goal is focused on non-hazardous solid waste, they do not plan to achieve their goal by over-classifying their waste streams. In order to support their goal and align with their Zero Waste strategic plan, an interactive and engaging e-training was created. To date they have educated over 12,000 employees in 2023 and will continue to educate all new employees on every waste stream that they may interact with across the hospital. In order to ensure relevancy, the training is segmented by areas of the hospital in which the employee interacts. The training was designed to deliver the logic behind each waste program and clarifies their existing policies on proper waste management. As a result of the training, 88 percent of employees that took the training reported that they were engaged in the training and were provided new information, and 91 percent of employees indicated that they were motivated to pay more attention to the proper management of materials.

Lessons Learned

With over 20 different waste streams present in healthcare, it has been necessary to create standard language and communication of BIDMC policies, procedures, and processes related to materials management and disposal. It is critical to have all stakeholders (infection control, EVS, EHS, Pharmacy, Distribution, Food Service, Facilities, etc.) involved in waste reduction, reuse, and diversion to ensure consistency and support for the common goal of Zero Waste.

BIDMC’s Environmental Sustainability Committee, alongside their Jane Matlaw Environmental Champion awardees. For 25 years, they’ve hosted an annual sustainability celebration that offers the opportunity to reflect and celebrate how far they have come to create a healthy future for their patients, their families, and themselves through their sustainability efforts at BIDMC. At this event, they honor individuals and teams that have demonstrated leadership and innovation towards their sustainability goals.

BIDMC’s Environmental Sustainability Committee, alongside their Jane Matlaw Environmental Champion awardees

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