Texas Health Environment of Care
Community Responsibility & Sustainability Report

Our Environment

Environment Highlights

Waste Management

Texas Health Resources manages its waste stream to prevent unnecessary exposures, communicable diseases and other harmful agents–as well as comply with related regulations. Our waste programs are designed to reduce what we send to the landfill and to control costs.

Medical and Hazardous Waste
The management of medical waste (e.g., used needles and pharmaceuticals) and hazardous waste (e.g., chemicals and disinfectants) is expensive, highly regulated, and requires specialized training and disposal mechanisms. To reduce costs and clinician exposure risks, we contract with a full-service, nationally recognized waste disposal company. This company coordinates staff training, and removes hazardous chemicals, pharmaceuticals and waste directly from our facilities.

Office Waste
Most every Texas Health facility has an office waste recycling program depending on the volume, storage and staff needed to make recycling practical and cost-effective. We encourage employees to recycle paper, boxes, brochures, cans and bottles. Additionally, we have kept considerable amounts of cardboard out of the waste stream thanks to having medical supplies delivered in reusable totes directly from our distributor to our patient care areas instead. Each year, we shred and recycle million pounds of paper, which saves thousands of trees. For Earth Day, we also host a free community shredding event.

Electronic Waste
Texas Health recycles computer parts after they are no longer needed, and encourages employees to recycle old cell phones and printer-ink cartridges. We offer a similar service to the community each year to encourage their disposal of unwanted electronic products. Our hospitals also collect unwanted phones for “Cell Phones for Soldiers,” a nonprofit program that recycles phones and provides calling cards to soldiers serving overseas so that they may call their families.

Food Waste
When feasible, Texas Health sends our unused food and food waste to be converted into compost. Rich in nutrients, the compost improves soil texture, saves water and reduces the need to use pesticides and fertilizers on crops.

Rather than dispose of used scrub tops, pants and jackets, our health system periodically collects and donates this clothing to community centers that provide services to homeless families and victims of domestic violence. Since 1999, we have donated thousands of pairs of gently used athletic shoes to local nonprofits.

Innovative Warming Blankets May Improve Patient Comfort, Lower Costs

Under the standard warming protocol that operating rooms follow, surgical patients may receive several blankets (typically nine to 15) to keep them warm after surgery. Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Southwest Fort Worth piloted using Thermoflect® blankets, which contain heat-reflective technology.

These innovative blankets could reduce the number needed per patient to just one regular 2-lb. blanket and one 1-lb, which would significantly curtail procurement and laundry expenses. While the trial went well with positive patient feedback, some mentally required the weight of the blankets to have a feeling of warmth. The hospital intends to purchase additional Thermoflect blankets for future use.

Chemical Reduction

Texas Health was the first health system in North Texas to achieve level-one “Clean Zone” certification. Clean Zone is designed to reduce the negative impact of harmful equipment and products on health and environment. Certification requires a commitment to use green cleaning products, equipment, processes and management practices.

Reducing Risks Before They Occur

According to IBM’s Cyber Security Intelligence Index, human error causes 95 percent of all security failures. Users inadvertently share sensitive information through phone calls, phishing emails and other techniques. While many organizations have strong security measures, they do a relatively poor job of educating employees to recognize possible threats. Texas Health is working to change that.

It began an anti-phishing campaign for all employees to help identify high-risk users. As part of this campaign, the Information Security team sent deceptive emails or “phishing emails.” Employees who clicked the link were taken immediately to a screen that explained their error and how to recognize possible phishing methods.

To drive continuous improvement and awareness, we are executing a quarterly phishing campaign to all employees and a monthly campaign to identified high-risk users. In addition to this quick training, we also provide mandatory information security training systemwide to build awareness of phishing techniques and to remind employees to adhere to our acceptable workstation use policy.