Archive for the ‘Healthy hospital movement’ Category

Last week I published a post about Renown Health’s commitment to taking action outside of the hospital’s walls to address community health. I visited Renown a couple of weeks ago and was thoroughly impressed by so many aspects of their operation. Today I’m sharing some thoughts about what Renown Health is doing within its walls to create a healing and healthy environment for patients, family members, visitors and employees.


Photo Caption: Display of artwork at Renown Health

When I speak at conferences, there are always a few audience members who are surprised to hear me say that many hospitals were not designed with the patient and his or her family in mind. For decades we built institutions that were not patient- and family-friendly and certainly weren’t hospitable. The facilities were cold and stark. They were loud. Lighting was horrible. These were not what I call healing environments. They were places for medical and therapeutic interventions – and for monitoring patients during recovery.

Today we understand that the environment has a lot to do with the patient’s recovery and well-being. It can also impact employees and their job performance. So, thank goodness, we are building amazing new healthcare facilities that truly offer patients, family members and hospital employees a healing and healthy environment. Many new hospitals have circadian lighting to simulate a natural environment. It is common to find artwork on the walls of the facility, and occasionally in patient rooms. I love this trend! Patient rooms now make accommodations for family members spending the night. Many hospitals have even eliminated formal visiting hours and offer valet parking – two patient-centric developments.

Throughout the industry there has also been an effort to make hospitals healthier environments by eliminating smoking and by emphasizing healthy food options in cafeterias and other hospital-based restaurants. Many healthcare organizations now have weekly farmer’s markets for their employees and visitors – emphasizing the importance of good nutrition and healthy eating. And finally, the Green Health movement has led to many hospitals to start using non-toxic building and cleaning products to reduce the negative health impact on patients, visitors and employees.

Within the hospital’s walls: As my colleague and I toured Renown last week we were astounded by the healing environment they have created. And trust me, not every hospital qualifies as having a healing environment. So what has Renown done to distinguish itself? First, Renown has more original art displayed throughout the medical center than I have ever seen within a healthcare organization – paintings, photography and sculpture. There are also amazing healing gardens for adults and children. The adult garden has a labyrinth – an amazing tool for meditation and reflection.


Photo Caption: Glass Sculpture at Renown Health


Photo Caption: Children’s Healing Garden at Renown Health

One of the other patient- and family-friendly features that impressed me as we toured Renown is the abundance of retail within the medical center. Renown Regional Medical Center is home to a variety of shops offering everything from mom and baby gifts to trendy clothing, from fresh-cut flowers to balloons, from sit-down dining to grab-and-go treats. The Shops at Renown Health include a CVS Pharmacy, the Artisan Market Bistro, Starbucks, an upscale Boutique, a floral shop, FreshBerry Frozen Yogurt, Subway, a logo shop for Renown apparel, a traditional gift shot (Sierra Gifts), and a cafe featuring healthy options and cuisine from around the world (Chinese, Mexican, European, Mediterranean, etc). When visiting the shops and restaurants you get a sense of the familiar – a feeling a normalcy. That has to be a calming experience for patients, family members and visitors.

Finally, Renown has full service hotel on the Renown Regional Medical Center campus. The Inn at Renown offers non-smoking rooms perfect for patients and their families, medical center visitors and guests attending on-campus seminars. Three of the rooms include kitchenettes for guests who plan an extended stay.

screen-shot-2017-02-27-at-8-27-27-amThese are just a few of the features I noted while on our tour of Renown Regional Medical Center. The abundance of original art, because it is so visually striking, left the greatest impression upon me. This was particularly true in the Renown Institute for Cancer. When the patient enters the Institute, he or she immediately faces a vibrant wall sculpture. Around every corner is the visitor finds a new piece of art. My guess is that the environment is not at all what first time visitors expect of a cancer center. However, it is what I have come to expect of modern, patient-friendly facilities!

If you’re interested in the creation of healing environments within hospitals, here are some posts I’ve written on the subject in the past:

Vermont Hospitals Embrace Art to Create Healing Environments

Reducing Hospital Noise to Create Healing Environments

Hospitals Offering Concierge Services for Patients

Green Initiatives on the Rise in Healthcare

Bringing the Arts into your Hospital


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Creating safe, healing environments is one of the huge opportunities facing healthcare. That’s what the CleanMed Conference is all about. CleanMed is the premier conference on environmental sustainability for the health care sector. The conference attracts leaders and key decision makers from across the industry, convening health care professionals, university researchers, designers of professional buildings, and vendors of cleaner and safer products and services. The conference is being held April 24 – 26, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts.

I’ve long been an advocate of creating “healthy hospitals” for patients, visitors and hospital employees. I’ve presented at conferences on the green movement in healthcare and have written several articles on the subject (“Healthcare’s Green Initiative: The Healthy Hospital Movement,” Alternative Health Journal, August 2009; “The Surprise Ingredient: Healthy Food Programs in Hospitals,” co-authored with Mark Shelley of Lexington Medical Center, Alternative Health Journal, November 2009).

featured_speakers 2Featured speakers will include Don Berwick, Bill McKibben, and Gary Gottlieb, MD. Additionally, CleanMed 2013 will include more than 50 session on topics ranging from healthy food in hospitals to the use of safer materials and chemicals to sustainability and waste management. These are issues we think about regularly at my firm. Not only are many of our hospital clients developing healthier environments, but one of my firm’s non-hospital clients, Daniels International, is the world’s largest provider of reusable systems for sharps disposal and a leader in the medical waste disposal industry. They work to make healthcare safer for those who work in the field while reducing the amount of waste that hospitals put into landfills. So CleanMed is something the people on my team are very passionate about.

If you’re interested in attending CleanMed 2103, or just want more information, go to http://www.cleanmed.org/2013/program/default.php.

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Screen Shot 2013-03-09 at 7.38.53 PMAmy Cueva, founder and health care principal for experience design firm Mad*Pow, wants to improve health care through the application of design. Her company sponsors a one-day conference in Boston, Healthcare Experience Design (HxD); this year’s edition takes place March 25 at the Westin Boston Waterfront. Boston, MA.

The Healthcare Experience Design Conference (HxD 2013) explores the overlap of healthcare and design – an area of interest of mine.  Speakers will discuss how human centered design and design thinking can improve the quality of health service delivery and digital interactions, helping all of us achieve better health. HxD has a decidedly health IT focus, as well as a patient engagement strategies segment. Jamie Heywood, co-founder of PatientsLikeMe.com, will headline this year’s HxD, as will Walking Gallery painter Regina Holliday. In this podcast, we sat down with Cueva and asked her what health care providers’ IT leadership can expect out of the conference.

Here’s how HxD co-founder, Amy Cueva, describes the conference:

“The theme of HxD 2013 is well-being as the foundation for health. Speakers will discuss how life–the messy stuff, the real stuff–can either support or interfere with our ability to care for ourselves and our families. We’ll ask: How does life management, stress management, relationships, emotions, sleep, and other factors affect our health? How can this thinking be woven into our solutions? What is our role in helping people achieve a fuller sense of well-being?

At HxD 2013, we’ll explore behavior change, public health and health literacy, care experiences, managing chronic conditions, design innovation, research and design methods, and case studies. The voice of the patient will be loud and clear – designers who have battled disease will share how it’s changed the way they approach their work. You’ll even have the chance to tell your own patient story.”

Here’s the list of speakers for this year’s conference (click on the image to enlarge it):

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For more information about the conference, go to http://www.healthcareexperiencedesign.com.

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In the past I’ve written about hospitals hosting farmers’ markets – http://tinyurl.com/78jxpzy. One of my passions is what I call the healthy hospital movement – where hospitals take steps to create healthy environments for employees, visitors and patients. This can include facilities design, smoking cessation programs, and the introduction of healthy eating programs. By bringing farmers’ markets to hospitals, these organizations are giving their employees easy access to healthy, locally grown foods, while making a statement about the importance of good nutrition. Check out my InsidersHealth.com article, “The Surprise Ingredient: Health Food Programs in Hospitals.”

The last two weekends I’ve headed out with my family on Saturday morning to attend the local farmers’ market. What a great way to shop for the week! I love seeing this movement gain momentum and popularity. A new farmers market opened this season near my home in South Durham (North Carolina). Last weekend we made our second trip to the South Durham Farmers’ Market (http://www.southdurhamfarmersmarket.org/), just two miles from our home. We bought a bunch of good stuff: Broccoli, zucchini, locally raise beef (my wife and daughter are meet eaters), chicken, soap, and cucumbers. Everything was organic and produced within the region. Based on what I’ve seen so far, it looks as though this farmers’ market is going to be a success. It is still a fledgling venture, but I expect it to grow over time.

My family and I spend a lot of our weekends in the mountains of Virginia, near a little town called Nellysford (Nelson County). It is about 30 minutes from Charlottesville and the University of Virginia. We make a point of frequenting the farmers’ market in Nellysford. It is well established and has the feel of a festival, with live music and lots of people milling around. I took several photos when we attended the Nellysford Farmers’ Market a couple of weeks ago. I hope the photos give you a feel for the environment and the range of products. And if you haven’t visited your local farmers market, I recommend it; even if that farmers market happens to be in your hospital!

For more information about hospital farmers markets I’ve included a few links below:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOn1gsTTACk (Children’s Hospital Farmers Market)


http://www.wral.com/lifestyles/healthteam/story/6078020/ (Duke University Medical Center)



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For me, this is a rare story because it it combines two of my firm’s clients: NC Prevention Partners and Vidant Health. NC Prevention Partners is a leader within the healthcare industry in reducing preventable illness and early death caused by tobacco use, poor nutrition and physical inactivity. They’ve worked successfully with North Carolina hospitals to become smoke-free and are now actively working with healthcare organizations on healthy eating programs. One of my big areas of interest is in the development of healthy hospital environments. This benefits patients, family members, visitors and employees.

Recently, NC Prevention Partners announced that all 10 Vidant Health System hospitals (another of my clients) were recently confirmed as Gold Star hospitals! The hospitals being recognized for meeting all the criteria of the Quit Tobacco system for employees include Albemarle Health, Vidant Beaufort, Vidant Bertie, Vidant Chowan, Vidant Duplin, Vidant Edgecombe, Vidant Medical Center, Vidant Pungo, Vidant Roanoke-Chown, and The Outer Banks Hospital.

How did these hospitals qualify for this recognition? Upon completion of a Health Risk Assessment, tobacco users working in the Vidant Health System receive a letter encouraging them to sign up for a tobacco cessation program. This program includes counseling and six months of free FDA-approved prescription medication or nicotine replacement therapy. Those employees in the program are followed every month for six months, then yearly. Upon enrollment in the program, tobacco users and non-tobacco users are eligible for a nearly $650 reduction in their health insurance premium.

A number of Vidant Hospitals were also confirmed as Gold Apple hospitals for meeting the criteria for Healthy Food Environments: Albemarle Health, Vidant Bertie, Vidant Chowan, Vidant Duplin, Vidant Edgecombe, Vidant Medical Center, Vidant Roanoke-Chowan, and The Outer Banks Hospital. Across these hospitals, healthy food policies were reviewed and approved by a steering committee. All food is labeled with nutrition information, while 75% of all food available meets healthy food criteria, which is based on calories. Catering for corporate events must have 60% of its offerings meet healthy food criteria. Finally, these hospitals offer price leveraging in a variety of ways to encourage the consumption of healthy food options, from charging less for healthy options to buying “X” amount of healthy entrees and getting one free.

It makes sense to me that hospitals should set the standard for health work environments. I’m encouraged to see organizations like NC Prevention Partners make progress as they work to bring healthy practices into the workplace. Recently NC Prevention Partners has expanded its Healthy NC Hospitals initiative to SC and created the Working Well SC program, in partnership with the South Carolina Hospital Association. They are also working with New York hospitals on a smoking cessation program, working in partnership with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. NYU’s Langone Medical Center was the first hospital to join the Tobacco-Free Hospitals Campaign. Other hospital participating in the program include:

  • Maimonides Medical Center
  • Lenox Hill Hospital (NS-LIJ)
  • Forest Hills Hospital (NS-LIJ)
  • Staten Island University Hospital (NS-LIJ)
  • Long Island Jewish Medical Center/Zucker Hillside Hospital/ Cohen Children’s Medical Center (NS-LIJ)
  • Montefiore Medical Center
  • Richmond University Medical Center
  • St. Barnabas Hospital
  • Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center

Congratulations to NC Prevention Partners and to all of the hospitals who are embracing the opportunity to create healthy environments for patients, families and employees.

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A week or so ago I was tweeting about the new movement to reduce waste from operating rooms (“greening operating rooms”), and I received an interesting response from the folks at Emory Healthcare in Atlanta. It turns out we have a shared interest.

I am a huge fan of the healthy hospital movement and  had no idea that Emory had driven a stake in the ground, making a firm commitment to being more earth-friendly. Their sustainability practices are extensive. Taken individually, none of them are that earth-shattering. But collectively, they make an impact. And I would not underestimate the importance of an organization like Emory taking the time to articulate a clear commitment to environmental sustainability. That action sets a tone for the organization and makes a statement to all of its constituents. It also helps to define a trend for other healthcare organizations around the country.

Here is a bulleted list of some of the steps Emory Healthcare has taken:

Ways Emory Healthcare Reuses:

  • Since March 2007, Emory Healthcare has collected more than 112,631 pounds of supplies for MedShare.
  • Emory Healthcare volunteers have sorted more than 8,000 pounds of supplies at MedShare’s headquarters.
  • Fryer grease from the food services departments in Emory University Hospital and Wesley Woods is collected and converted into biodiesel for some of the Clifton Corridor shuttles. This fuel is environmentally-friendly and keeps grease out of our water systems. (Source: Emory website)

Ways Emory Healthcare Recycles:

  • In 2007, Emory Healthcare recycled 813.13 tons. In 2008, Emory Hospitals’ recycling total went up almost 20% to 969.38 tons. That’s almost 2 million pounds or material recycled in two years.
  • The Emory Clinic saved more than 3,000 trees in 2007 by sending shredded paper to a recycling company.
  • In 2007, Emory Hospitals recycling tonnage increased by 64.79 tons.
  • Confidential document shredding increased 10.5% in 2007.
  • Since April 2008, Emory Healthcare has added more than 75 recycle containers throughout its hospitals and is looking to include more departments and locations in its recycling efforts.

Ways Emory Healthcare Reduces:

Reduce our water use

  • Many toilets, showers, and sinks in the Emory University Hospital Midtown diagnostic and treatment center use low flow water devices. For example, select toilets in Emory University Hospital Midtown have dual flush valves that flush up or down for water savings. These valves use 1.1 gallons per flush and 1.6 gallons per flush, respectively. This is a 46% increase in water savings compared to the previous valves, which used 3.5 gallons per flush.
  • In drought conditions, all Emory Healthcare facilities turn off indoor and outdoor water features and irrigation sprinklers.
  • At The Emory Clinic, most toilets and sinks now have automatic sensors. This translates to automatic flushing for the toilets and automatic on/off sensors for the sinks.
  • At Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital, we have purchased a new dishwasher machine and disposer that use water saving technology.
  • The Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University uses captured ground water for irrigation purposes.

Reduce energy use

  • Emory University Hospital Midtown, Emory University Hospital and the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University use a unique energy recovery system. Energy wheels use air exhausted from the facility to pre-heat outside air in the winter and to pre-cool outside air in the summer.
  • All doorway exit lights in Emory University Hospital Midtown and most exit lights in The Emory Clinic have been replaced with light-emitting diode (LED) lights. These long lasting LED lights do not require additional energy to heat the filament and save energy.
  • On the inpatient units at Emory University Hospital Midtown, patient care stations are equipped with task lighting which uses high powered LED lights.
  • The Emory Clinic sections reduce energy use by exchanging incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescent light bulbs.
  • At Emory University Hospital Midtown and in new renovations at The Emory Clinic, motion detection devices have been installed in equipment rooms and bathrooms to save electricity when people are not present.
  • The Emory University Hospital Midtown diagnostic and treatment center has automatic speed controls for all air handlers. Also, The Emory Clinic uses variable speed dials on air handlers to reduce energy use.
  • In most Emory Healthcare facilities, thermostat presets allow temperatures to be controlled and changed when not in use.
  • To help reduce traffic and automobile carbon emissions, Emory Healthcare and Emory University offer employees a robust alternative transportation program. Options include vanpools, carpools, park & ride shuttle service.
  • Heating, air-conditioning, and ventilation systems in our hospitals and Clinic are the most efficient designs available for a comfortable environment.

Reduce the impact of chemicals

  • The Emory Healthcare purchasing team uses eco-friendly supplies and equipment whenever possible.
  • The Emory Clinic has applied for Green Seal® approval for cleaning processes and supplies.
  • Emory University Hospital Midtown and Emory University Hospital use the Ecolab ProGuard System, a comprehensive cleaning system with which environmental service technicians are provided with the procedures and tools to address daily hospital challenges.

Environmentally Friendly printing

  • When producing materials, and when ever possible, Emory Healthcare uses companies whose printing and print processes are certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the Forestry Stewardship Council.

You can learn more about Emory’s green initiative by going to http://www.emoryhealthcare.org/about-us/sustainability/reduce.html.

Post By Dan Dunlop, The Healthcare Marketer

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Rockingham Memorial Hospital, or RMH as it is affectionately known, opened a new inpatient healthcare facility in June 2010 and, from all accounts, it is amazing. RMH is located in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and is one of only seven hospitals of its size in the nation to earn LEED Gold designation. According to Eric Sheffer of Smith Seckman Reid (SSR), the Nashville-based engineering and sustainable consulting firm, “RMH has implemented some creative alternative energy management and sustainability strategies that truly represent a team effort between RMH, the design team and local municipalities.” For those you who follow my blog, you know that I am a big proponent of the healthy hospital environment. I believe that hospitals have an obligation, as healthcare providers, to create healthy and healing environments.

I know a few of the marketing professionals at RMH, including Holly Martin and Ryan Hildebrand, but they are not a client. I just truly admire the commitment that organization has made to creating an environmentally-friendly and healthy environment for its employees, patients and the community it serves. Check out this video that describes their effort. It is a little dated at this point in time, but does a nice job of telling their story.

There are so many benefits that come from RMH’s new green building:

1.     Energy efficiency that includes the use of methane gas from the county landfill as an energy source for one of its boilers

2.     Water conservation through the use of low flow public restroom faucets and reduced water flow toilets

3.     Wetland preservation through the use of stormwater management

4.     Careful waste management and recycling

5.     Strategic site selection to take advantage of natural light

6.     Along with the obvious benefits of providing a healthy environment for its staff and patients

For more information, visit the green page on RMH’s website: http://bit.ly/eEkxVE. It has a ton of content about their commitment to building and living green.

Post by Dan Dunlop, The Healthcare Marketer

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