Hospital Waste Management: Past, Present, and in the Future
The medical world took dozens of years to create clean conditions in hospitals and other facilities. As new facts arose about bodily fluids, disease and contagious viruses, hospital waste management became a core concept to perfect and practice each day. As a result, medical facilities are safer than ever as patients visit without contracting any other issues. The past, present and future of medical waste control is dotted with successes and setbacks.
Cleaning up the Beach
The late 1970s heralded in the era of controlling medical waste through the federal government’s new regulations. However, the reality of waste control didn’t hit home until beaches were polluted in the late 1980s. Hospital waste management became front-page news at that time, putting pressure on the government and medical community to form strict protocols. If the oceans were being sickened by waste, humans were not far off from that fate.
Rise of Hospital Waste Management
Companies began to form out of the new government regulations. These medical waste companies used the regulations as a basis for their practices, but also went above and beyond to research and implement more safety features. Health care workers, in particular, were vulnerable to disease without a strong waste control process in the workplace. With safe medical personnel practices, diseases were less likely to spread in a hospital.
Containers for All
Medical waste companies employed the basic idea of isolation. The moment an infectious disease was introduced into a hospital, its footsteps were figuratively tracked. Any gloves, gowns or linens soiled with bodily fluids had to be placed in specific containers for cleaning or disposal. These medical waste containers are still used today, such as those red plastic boxes ready for sharp needle disposal.
Robots to the Rescue
The future of medical waste control could include robotic help. There are already robots involved with cleaning certain medical items, but robotics could be introduced into the hospital itself. A highly infectious person could be isolated in a room where a robot performs certain vital sign checks, including pulse and blood pressure verifications. Using robots for some needs lowers the risk of disease spread across the globe.
Medical waste companies are now required entities of any care facility. Both governments and patients rely on standardized protocols to keep bacteria and viruses at bay. Outbreaks are controlled and reduced significantly because of current disease-spread research and dedicated professionals performing their jobs.