First, it was digital. And now, as the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, sustainability becomes a top priority for businesses everywhere.
It’s no different in the healthcare sector. Regulations and consumer expectations have changed, and so must the way the medical world operates. For the environment and society, this is excellent news. But for teams tasked to manage sustainability, it can be incredibly pressurizing as they grapple with different goals and expectations.
This article explores the meaning of sustainability in the context of the healthcare industry. Drawing from our own experience, we also outline some ways that healthcare organisations can implement to ensure their sustainability in healthcare.
Healthcare has always been a high-input, high-output industry, meaning it requires a lot of resources to produce and maintain. In addition, healthcare is one of the most expensive sectors of society, with patients often requiring multiple visits and treatments over their lifetime.
As a result, sustainability in healthcare has come to mean finding ways to reduce the number of resources used, while still meeting patient needs.
Recent years have seen the repositioning of sustainability to include integrating the environment, people and economy. Known as ESG this is a simple framework that focuses on:
As sustainability can be a broad term, the ESG framework provides companies with a clear direction to measure and apply their sustainability efforts.
The relevance of sustainability and healthcare has been a topic of much discussion and debate. It is often referred to as a new paradigm for the future of healthcare. The healthcare industry today is already facing pressure in the aftermath of the pandemic. This comes closely along with other challenges such as rising costs, regulator changes and technological advancements.
This is the best time for healthcare organisations to shift towards a more sustainable way of operation. Similar to other industries, implementing sustainable and ethical practices can prove to be advantageous for healthcare organisations through:
By committing to a sustainable way of operation, healthcare brands also contribute to building a healthier environment as well as more resilient communities. It also adds to improving operational efficiency, opening up more funds for other crucial areas.
There are many ways healthcare organisations can succeed with sustainable practices. Sustainability can help organisations reduce their environmental impact, improve their social impact, and make smarter decisions internally.
Here are a few tips for implementing sustainable practices in your healthcare organisation:
Healthcare organisations agree that sustainability is important. But this often comes from a ‘nice-to-have’ perspective rather than a priority.
When you integrate sustainability into your organisation’s mission and purpose, you increase the confidence of your stakeholders. This means embedding meaningful ESG practices within your existing strategy, from the top of the supply chain to clinical trial diversity, to environmental footprints.
The goal is to create a system that can be sustained over time, embracing both the environment and the patient. In turn, your efforts also double as a method to capture broader awareness and attention. This effectively enhances your brand’s value and reputation in the eyes of stakeholders.
Your stakeholders—that is your investors, customers, employees and community— want to know if you’re walking the talk. The best way to prove this to them? Including data-driven insights and tracking in your sustainability report.
Take a proactive approach in your reporting efforts by making use of technology to capture data and quantify your efforts. This brings your healthcare brand’s transparency and accountability up in your consumer’s eyes tenfold. This can also be useful for you to validate your outcomes, as well as to prove your effectiveness against your competitors.
Sustainability isn’t a one-off. Creating tangible value and impact means cultivating a purpose-driven mindset in all corners of your organisation.
In planning your sustainability efforts, rope in all members of your organisation and ensure that they understand the benefits and responsibilities associated with them. This will help create an internal culture of sustainability and ensure that everyone is working together to make the best decisions for the organisation.
Successful healthcare is sustainable healthcare. And as agents involved in public health and wellbeing, healthcare brands must take the step towards sustainability.
Reach out to us for a free kick-off consultation on how INL agency can work together to build a sustainable brand with you.