IIT Delhi Professor Frames Guidelines to Sustainably Dispose off Medical Waste
In a new study, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi professor Dr Surya Prakash Singh from the Department of Management Studies has thrown light on how hospitals can select a hygienic and sustainable way to dispose of medical waste. It shows the path to facilitate the hospitals with a real-time decision support framework considering numerous criteria and constraints for the selection of healthcare waste disposal firms.
The study identifies ten key success factors from literature and field surveys for selecting the best healthcare waste disposal firm. Experience of the firm, technology for disposal, and waste collection infrastructure act as a cause in selecting a healthcare waste disposal firm, it added.
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‘In Covid times, this becomes more relevant due to the increasing amount of healthcare waste and its hazardous and infectious composition such as syringes, masks, PPE kits, face shield, scalpels, bandages, blooded cotton, heavy metals, and chemicals, etc. The World Health Organization has also advocated considering these wastes different from other wastes such as non-hazardous municipal solid waste,” said IIT Delhi.
The key factors the study advises to look for before finalising a healthcare waste disposal firm include manpower of a particular outsourcing firm, cases filed in a court of law against the HCW outsourcing firm, the cost of providing services by an outsourcing firm to a particular hospital, the reputation of existing clients of HCW outsourcing firm, number of years for which an outsourcing firm has been functional, the technology available with an outsourcing firm for disposal and recycling of HCW as well as collection instruments and vehicles available with outsourcing firm.
Other important factors include training and awareness programs about HCW provided to housekeeping staff and patients, capacity planning for recycling of HCW collected by outsourcing firm, and risk associated with the handling and disposal of HCW.
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The research paper titled ‘Selection of Healthcare Waste Disposal Firms Using a MultiMethod Approach’ by Prof Surya Prakash Singh and his collaborator Dr Ankur Chauhan, Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida, India was published in the Journal of Environmental Management.
‘The aim of this study is to propose a hybrid multi-criteria decision support framework integrated with a mathematical model to tackle the issue of safe disposal of hazardous and infectious healthcare waste. The study shows a direction to the hospital management in selecting economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable healthcare waste disposal firms. Literature of the last twenty-five years has been carefully sifted through for leads in the identification of the selection criteria,” Prof Prakash Singh, Department of Management Studies, IIT Delhi said.
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