Six challenges hospitals aim to beat for green bill of health

Those challenges, including creating a healthier environment, are looked at in the Healthier Hospitals Initiative’s second annual Milestone Report.

OAKLAND, Calif.—Going green, improving environmental performance, creating healthier environments — it all sounds good. And with a Hippocratic Oath to do no harm, hospitals are ripe with opportunity. But where to start, how to prioritize, how to measure and how to learn? That's what the Healthier Hospitals Initiative is for.

Just what the doctor ordered

Hospitals are demonstrating the Initiative's value in the second annual Milestone Report (PDF). The report shares findings of the 638 participating hospitals that submitted data in 2013, an increase from 350 hospitals the previous year. Some hospitals enrolled as a stand-alone facility, some as entire systems. Every hospital took on one or all of its challenges.

Enrolled hospitals commit to a minimum of one of the six challenges that make up the initiative. The six challenge areas are Engaged Leadership, Leaner Energy, Healthier Food, Less Waste, Safer Chemicals and Smarter Purchasing. Each challenge is comprised of one to three goals and a specific target.

Although not every hospital responded to every challenge, some interesting trends emerged from the data reported in 2013.