Proper medical waste management, the environmental impact of healthcare and at-home care continue to be top concerns of healthcare workers
BANNOCKBURN, Ill. — Dec. 6, 2022 — Stericycle, Inc. (Nasdaq: SRCL), a leading provider of medical waste management and secure information destruction solutions, today released its second annual Healthcare Workplace Safety Trend Report revealing crucial insights into healthcare workers' perspectives on health and safety in their work environments. Industry growth and the changing landscape of infectious diseases is driving a significant transformation of healthcare, while creating new challenges to overcome. The study aimed to better understand healthcare providers' and administrators' perspectives on those challenges to help healthcare organizations improve workplace safety standards as well as create a quality care environment for providers and their patients.
This year's key findings found healthcare providers have an increased desire for more training, tools and resources around regulated and pharmaceutical waste management (79%, up from 56% in 2021), at-home care disposal (91%), and managing difficult patients (72%). Both providers and administrators also see a clear connection between their workplace's sustainable environmental practices and the overall health of the community and positive patient outcomes. Nine in ten (94%) healthcare providers and administrators believe improper medical waste disposal greatly impacts patient health and safety and puts the physical safety of providers at risk – a 23% increase from 2021.
"Healthcare organizations are facing immense challenges when it comes to protecting the health and well-being of their patients and staff. Recent public health emergencies from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases have only intensified issues facing the healthcare industry, including increasing workloads, longer hours, and less staff," said Cory White, executive vice president and chief commercial officer at Stericycle. "Our findings emphasize the need for healthcare organizations to create an ecosystem of care that nurtures and prioritizes patient and provider health, community health and environmental health, which will help lessen these industry challenges and define the future of healthcare. Our report also provides actionable steps to help healthcare organizations create a healthier and safer environment for their workers and patients."
Additional key themes and insights from the report include:
- Healthcare Professionals Remain Stressed and Burnt-out: While stress levels decreased from 2021, they remain high with nearly three in five providers (58%) still noting their day-to-day stress level has worsened in the past year, citing increasing workloads, longer hours and decreasing staff as the largest stress contributors. More than a quarter feel unmotivated (34%), have trouble concentrating (28%), and are concerned about their physical safety (25%).
- Effective Healthcare Environments Require Medical Waste Management: Both providers (93%) and administrators (84%) agree that medical waste management is important to delivering the best possible care to patients. The majority of providers (94%) also stated that the absence of proper regulated medical/ biohazardous waste disposal puts the physical safety of healthcare workers at risk, an increase of 12% from 2021.
- Waste Challenges of At-Home Care: Providers (69%) and administrators (78%) agree that there are not enough standards in place to safely remove medical waste from at-home care. Nearly six in ten providers say patients do not know how to dispose of medical waste safely (59%, up from 26% in 2021), nor do they have adequate tools and resources available (58%, up from 37% in 2021) in at-home care settings. Almost all providers (91%) agree that they need additional training to uphold safe working conditions in at-home care settings.
- Medical Waste Critically Impacts Communities: Ninety-five percent of healthcare providers and administrators agree that improper medical and biohazardous waste management is harmful to the environment, and more than half of providers (56%) and administrators (67%) reported they think about the environmental impacts of regulated medical and biohazardous waste often. This environmental and community concern includes drug diversion, where 53% of providers agree that improperly disposed of pharmaceutical waste is one of the biggest contributors to the opioid epidemic.
- The Future of Healthcare Lies in Home Care: While most healthcare providers (90%) expect the rate of at-home care to increase over the next five years, they are concerned about their risks to physical health and well-being (75%). Those concerns include sanitation (53%), availability of resources (52%), and their own safety in at-home care settings (50%).
This study surveyed 504 healthcare professionals—404 healthcare practitioners (those who have direct patient interaction and currently practice as a physician, nurse or another related role) and 100 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.
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 and secure information destruction. For more information about Stericycle, please visit www.stericycle.com.