New Contracts Make Green Computers Available to Hospitals

New Contracts Make Green Computers Available to Hospitals

The Premier healthcare alliance has made it easier for hospitals and other healthcare providers to go green for the safety and health of patients and the environment when buying computers and electronic devices.

Premier's supply chain unit, Purchasing Partners, has signed group contracts for computers and electronic devices that address significant environmental issues regarding the manufacture, use and end-of-life disposal of electronics. Premier is the first major healthcare alliance to integrate such environmental criteria into the contracting process based on the Green Electronics Council's Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT).

Based on verifiable environmental criteria, the EPEAT system of product rating encourages manufacturers to design their products to last longer, contain less hazardous material, be more energy efficient, and be easier to upgrade and recycle.

"This is an important step forward. Hospitals buy tens of thousands of computers, and their purchasing dollars can and should support environmentally preferable choices in manufacturing and disposal of electronic equipment," said Sarah O'Brien, H2E/Hospitals for a Healthy Environment Environmental Purchasing Program Manager, who worked with Premier to integrate environmental criteria into the contract process.

In addition to using these criteria, Premier asks its electronics suppliers to provide detailed information for its hospital members on the end-of-life takeback and recycling programs they offer. Truly responsible end-of-life handling supports worker health and environmental protection around the globe, while 'recycling' in an unsustainable manner can do significant damage to both.

"Premier has been concerned about the environmental impacts of computer purchase and disposal for some years because the health of the environment is linked to the health and safety of patients and workers," said Gina Pugliese, Vice President, Premier Safety Institute. "We previously worked with Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E) and Health Care Without Harm (HCHW) to develop educational materials on our Safety Institute Web site at www.premierinc.com/safety to help Premier members make environmentally responsible choices. This new program offers a wonderful opportunity to put that information to use."

Dell has 38 models currently registered with EPEAT at the Silver level. With Gateway's recent EPEAT registration of 26 models at the Bronze level, Premier's members now have numerous computer products available from both contracted suppliers that meet specific, verifiable environmental criteria.

"Health Care Without Harm will continue to assist Premier in moving the computer market toward safer alternatives," said Sue Chiang, Pollution Prevention Program Director at the Center for Environmental Health, who is helping to coordinate HCWH's work on green electronics. "Premier's efforts are helping move markets toward greener choices for a full range of electronic devices."

While EPEAT does not currently address every environmental issue of concern, Premier will look for new ways to integrate additional sustainability criteria and encourage suppliers' efforts to eliminate toxic materials and create products that are safe from manufacture through end of life.

HCWH, H2E and the Computer Takeback Campaign have developed criteria that healthcare facilities can use to go beyond EPEAT to ensure that manufacturers are addressing emerging chemicals of concernand verified socially and environmentally sound end-of-life management. These criteria are available at www.computertakeback.com.
Topics: