Environmental Big Data Applied to Sustainable Health Purchasing
July 29, 2016
The US healthcare system has some of the best medical procedures and practices in the world, but the governing system is a violent mess. One aspect tangled in the nightmare is purchasing. Wharton University explains how big data can improve sustainability in everything in purchasing in everything from drugs to cleaning supplies: “The Four A’s: Turning Big Data Into Useful Information.”
The health care system is one of the biggest participants in group purchasing organizations (GPOs). One significant downplayed feature that all GPOs share is its green product usage. GPOs rely on using green products to cut back on waste and cost (in some cases), however, they could do more if they had access to environmental big data. It helps the immediate bottom line, but it does more for the future:
“Longer term, it makes good business sense for hospitals and clinics, which spend so much battling environmentally caused illnesses, to reduce, and where possible eliminate, the chemicals and other pollutants that are damaging their patients’ health. That is precisely why Premier’s GreenHealthy program is eager to move beyond price alone and take EPP into consideration. ‘Price doesn’t give us the whole story,’ said [Kevin Lewis, national program coordinator for the GreenHealthy division of Premier Inc]. ‘Our prime concern is making our patients safer.’”
Individual health service providers, however, do not have access to certain healthcare metrics and data, unless they ask for it from manufacturers/supplies. Even worse is that the health metrics data is often outdated.
The GPOs and the health providers could work together to exchange information to keep all data along the supply chain updated. It would create a sustainability chain that would benefit the environment and the bottom line.