What’s on the Horizon for 2020
Navigating healthcare’s many facets can be daunting, especially at the start of a new year when organizations are looking ahead to what the next 12 months will bring. Gaining an appreciation of the important trends facing the industry is critical to ensure proper resource allocation and best practice. Here are four evolving trends that stand to impact healthcare organizations in 2020.
1. The continued opioid epidemic.
More than 10 million Americans misuse prescription painkillers in a year, fueling the addiction to opioids. One of the risk factors for misusing drugs is having leftover, expired or unused prescriptions lying around. Most Americans (75%) believe that people sharing or selling their unused prescriptions contributes to the opioid epidemics’ growth, and nearly 80% believe their pharmacy, hospital or doctor should help collect unused drugs. The dramatic impact of the opioid crisis will attract attention this year as more and more pharmacies and other healthcare organizations participate in drug take back programs. These often involve medication disposal kiosks or Seal&Send envelopes through which the public can safely and anonymously dispose of unwanted prescription drugs.
2. Preserving information security.
Data security breaches continue to be a top concern for healthcare organizations as they aim to safeguard patients’ protected health information (PHI). Cybersecurity threats as well as physical data hazards warrant attention. Organizations that have strong information security policies and engage in best practices, such as comprehensive paper shredding, clean desk initiatives and complete destruction of outdated and unused technology, can make meaningful strides in maintaining the security of sensitive information. Stericycle offers HIPAA training to ensure your staff and organization stay compliant with managing daily risks and meeting HIPAA compliance regulations.
3. Safe waste disposal.
Healthcare organizations have a duty to the communities they serve to appropriately dispose of the hazardous waste and other regulated wastes they generate. Whether it’s used sharps, contaminated supplies or hazardous drugs, organizations should have sound processes and procedures for safe disposal and destruction, eliminating the possibility of landfill and public waterway contamination.
Although preserving the environment is not a new trend, it is getting more attention as healthcare customers, especially younger ones, seek medical services from organizations that not only deliver top-notch care but prioritize eco-friendly operations. Waste disposal is a prime area in which organizations can shrink their carbon footprint. This may involve having a robust recycling program and using recyclable materials where possible. For example, a reusable sharps container can ensure proper waste disposal and also significantly limit the number of containers entering landfills.
As organizations prepare for the new year, it is helpful to have a partner with deep knowledge of current issues and industry best practices. Learn how Stericycle can serve as a valuable resource as you face the latest trends affecting healthcare.