Many people define environmentally preferred sourcing (EPS) as purchasing products that are better for the environment. While that’s part of the definition, it’s not the primary reason hospitals and health systems are turning toward these products. At its core, EPS is about ensuring patient safety.

From waiting room furniture to nasal cannulas, many products that touch patients, their families and hospital staff in a health care environment are made with harmful chemicals. Eliminating these chemicals of concern from products and devices is crucial to ensuring patients aren’t inadvertently harmed while in a place of healing.

But whether it’s cost, lack of executive support or lack of regulatory oversight, many hospitals have yet to fully embrace the EPS movement. Fortunately, GPOs, suppliers and other key industry stakeholders are beginning to converge around a set of 23 environmentally preferred product attributes to create market demand that should make it easier and less costly for manufacturers to produce these products.

As a leader in the industry, Vizient has aligned its EPS program with these 23 attributes and includes them in the bid process. We have also worked with industry associations to encourage other GPOs to do the same. In addition, by encouraging our contracted suppliers to showcase their environmentally preferred products it elevates their visibility to Vizient members.

Shifting purchase patterns from traditional products to environmentally preferred products is not always easy and may not be possible if a safe, sustainable alternative for a product doesn’t yet exist. Even so, with more than 450,000 contracted products, the Vizient EPS program offers the broadest, most cost-effective portfolio of environmentally preferred products in the industry.  

For health systems just beginning their EPS journey, it’s important to define a clear strategy, secure leadership support and assemble the right people to act as guides. These team members will lead hospitals on the path to a healthier, more sustainable health care environment. That should be celebrated with every passing milestone as it more closely aligns the entire organization with the promise of its physicians: ‘First, do no harm.’

To learn more about the role Vizient is playing in EPS, read this feature recently published in Healthcare Purchasing News

Published: January 23, 2020