I know. I know. January is almost over, and I’m still posting resolutions. But you know what? I’ve found that the promises I make outside of New Year’s Eve often last longer than the Asti Spumanti inspired contracts on December 31st. So here’s the list:
1. I’ve started a subscription to a recycling service that picks up glass, aluminum, cardboard, plastics 1 & 2, and paper from the house. When I can remember to put the can out on Tuesdays, the system works well. Have gone a little overboard trying to find the appropriate container for recyclables until pick-up date, but so far so good.
2. In an effort to reduce paper useage, I have started e-prescribing. Not an entirely smoothe transition – started with pitching a fit to my office administrator to get me a Blackberry so I can be efficient and work my wireless magic in the exam rooms. The Blackberry works fine, but I cannot get Allscripts to function without errors. Have had to manually upload patients into the application which is slowwww. Still, patients and parents like it. I feel like I’m keeping up with technology in baby steps.
3. Bags. Bags. Bags. I’ve bought about 10 reusable shopping bags – just working on trying to remember to reuse them. The plastic shopping bags do make it to the office for drug samples, medical equipment and dirty diapers.
4. Staff & physicians are encouraged to recycle all paper for privacy. Our shredding service recycles discarded patient information, magazines, faxes, and other paper. The service has been in place since late fall, and I think we may need a bigger storage container. I’m still working on printing less from the computer and trying to do double sided copies whenever possible.
5. One of my professional goals for 2009 is to sort through junk science. Through the help of fellow-bloggers such as http://store.junkscience.com/index.html, http://www.healthobservatory.org/, & http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2009/01/latest-scare-du-jour-mercury-in-hfcs.html
I hope to educate myself about topics in the media that effect my family and patients. Case in point is the current furor over potential mercury in high fructose corn syrup. Hershey’s chocolate syrup is a favorite “spoonful of sugar” to help children take some of the bitter medicines such as oral liquid steroids. The syrup ranks pretty high on the list of mercury containing foods thought to be so because of high fructose corn syrup. Is it a problem?
A balance exists between convenience (and cleanliness) in the office and being a greener citizen, physician and business owner. One of my throwaway journals,mdng, ran an article in its Pulse column about “How green is your office?” Cloth gowns, table covers, and metal ear specula were among the suggestions. As much as I would like to embrace more reusable materials in my business, I have to ask about cost effectiveness. Is it efficient and feasible use of my staff’s time and energy to go to cloth, metal and glass supplies which require more effort to care for? Is it in my patient’s best interest to use renewable resources – are they clean enough? It’s a maddening equillibrium to straddle, and I do better some days than others. But the goal it to keep trying, right?