Now more than ever, hospitals operate under considerable cost pressure. In such an environment a wrong understanding of economy may lead to a situation where the hospital itself bars its way into the future and misses opportunities to safeguard the future.
The objective of the concept of sustainability is to cover all influence quantities during entire life cycles in order to minimize the use of resources while ensuring the highest service quality. With regard to a hospital, this may be the construction and operation of a building, the production and use of a medical product or planning and rendering a service. This optimization with respect to minimum life cycle costs ensures that the lowest possible costs per function are incurred for products and services at hospitals and that sub-optimization (e.g. low cost price at high operating costs) is counteracted.
However, optimum performance might only be achieved after several iterations. In addition, the complexity of hospital management is large enough that it is difficult to prioritize optimization measures. It is therefore necessary to establish a structured process to determine relevant parameters based on defined steps, relate these to data from other hospitals and derive necessary measures resulting from this benchmarking.
After the implementation of measures the parameters achieved will be re-evaluated to validate the result and establish a living, dynamic sustainability management system. This process follows the dogma of continuous improvement by using the PDCA cycle.