Report shows medical waste management, healthcare provider burnout, environmental impact of healthcare, at-home care and drug diversion are top concerns
BANNOCKBURN, Ill. – Jan 12, 2022 - Stericycle, Inc. (Nasdaq: SRCL), a leading provider of medical waste management, secure information destruction and patient engagement solutions, today released its inaugural Healthcare Workplace Safety Trend Report revealing crucial insights into healthcare workers’ perspectives on their work environments. On the heels of immense change brought on by modernization, new technology, changing expectations—and of course, the COVID-19 pandemic—the study aimed to better understand healthcare providers and administrators’ perspectives on the safety and standards needed to provide a quality care environment.
Key findings from the survey reveal a desire for more training, tools and resources around regulated and pharmaceutical waste management from healthcare providers and administrators alike (nearly 60%). Both audiences also see a clear connection between the health and safety of the care environment and the impact on quality of care and job satisfaction—especially in the home setting. More than 70% of healthcare providers and administrators believe improper medical waste disposal greatly impacts patient health and safety and puts the physical safety of providers at risk.
“The healthcare workforce, leaders and patients face headwinds when it comes to protecting the health and well-being of the industry at large. We’ve witnessed firsthand how existing issues like provider burnout, changing patient expectations and quality of care environments have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Cory White, executive vice president and chief commercial officer at Stericycle. “Our findings underscore that healthcare providers and administrators understand how the health and safety of a care environment impacts patient care. It is clear, medical waste management is critical for creating a safe and efficient care environment for healthcare workers and patient health and well-being.”
Additional key themes and insights from the report include:
- Burnout among Healthcare Professionals Is Prominent and Could Impact Their Safety: Seventy-two percent of healthcare providers indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated feelings of burnout and stress (85%) and has undermined their sense of safety in the workplace (71%). Less than 5% say they feel heroic. This could pose risk to the already short-staffed healthcare industry.
- Healthcare Workers Prefer Solutions That Limit the Impact of Medical Waste on the Environment: The environmental impacts of improper biohazardous waste management are substantial and top-of-mind. While 75% of administrators believe their organization is doing enough to reduce its environmental impact through appropriate biohazardous waste management, providers (54%) are less aware of these efforts.
- At-Home Care Is Here to Stay but Can Pose Significant Challenges: At-home care can pose significant challenges when it comes to ensuring the proper disposal of medical and pharmaceutical waste and can expose workers and patients to risk. Over 80% of healthcare providers say proper disposal of biohazardous waste in at-home care environments is a core challenge and can pose significant risks to their physical health and well-being.
- Drug Diversion Is a Top Concern Which Has Worsened Due to the Pandemic: Drug diversion is a chief concern among healthcare providers. More than half (56%) of healthcare workers believe improperly disposed of pharmaceutical waste is one of the top contributors to the opioid epidemic and believe it has been easier for opioids to get into the wrong hands during the pandemic (52% of providers and 64% of administrators).
This study surveyed 500 healthcare professionals—350 clinicians (those who have direct patient interaction and currently practice as a physician, nurse or another related role) and 150 administrators (those who are currently at an executive leadership or senior management level in a healthcare organization). Both audiences were required to work in an organization that deals with medical waste management in some regard, whether they are personally responsible for decision making or not.
For more information about Stericycle and to access the Healthcare Workplace Safety Trend Report and multimedia assets, visit Stericycle’s website.
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Stericycle, Inc., (Nasdaq: SRCL) is a U.S. based business-to-business services company and leading provider of compliance-based solutions that protect peoples and brands, promotes health and well-being, and safeguards the environment. Stericycle serves customers in the U.S. and 16 countries with solutions for regulated waste and compliance services, secure information destruction and patient engagement. For more information about Stericycle, please visit www.stericycle.com.