AAMI has released a new technical information report (TIR) on medical device sustainability, examining the role of green practices in medical equipment manufacturing and selection. AAMI TIR65:2015, Sustainability of Medical Devices—Elements of a Responsible Product Life Cycle, represents the first time the organization has delved into environmental concerns, it says. The document provides general guidance on what sustainable practices look like for relevant stakeholders, including suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and other healthcare technology professionals.
“TIR65 describes how the product life cycle can be designed so as to ensure medical devices ‘do no harm,’ ” said Ramé Hemstreet, vice president of operations and chief sustainable resources officer for National Facilities Services of Kaiser Permanente and cochair of AAMI’s Sustainability Committee, which authored the report. “It’s important to know that the device that may save your life isn’t unintentionally and unnecessarily contributing to the environmental and social factors that can be detrimental to human health.”
According to the report, manufacturers should be aware of the environmental impact of their choices related to product and packaging design, use of raw and recycled materials, and distribution practices. For users and purchasers of medical equipment, in contrast, decisions related to device selection and acquisition, maintenance and repair, medical gas usage, and equipment reprocessing, recycling, refurbishment, and donation all represent opportunities to improve sustainability.
“TIR65 should begin a dialogue as to how best reduce the impact of manufacturing, packaging, shipping, utilizing, and disposing of medical devices,” Hemstreet said. “I hope the TIR helps raise the visibility of these considerations, and in some cases, even causes tangible actions to occur.”
The report is currently on back order in the AAMI store.