Life cycle and energy analysis of products and hospital systems
There is a relationship between the healthcare sector and treatment of the patient in the delivery of service. During the process of this relationship, waste and CO2 are generated, which increases over time. Compared to other industries, very little information is available with which to make science-based decisions in order to reduce waste and CO2 emissions while still maintaining quality patient care. This research investigates three areas to assess the environmental impact of healthcare: nutrition, hospital materials, and radiology. This research applies critical literature analysis techniques, life cycle assessment, and energy analysis to identify the aspects of sustainability improvement of healthcare services and products with an emphasis on hospitals. In order to provide solutions, one area of study is assessing the amount of food waste in hospitals by quantifying and analyzing food consumption, waste, and energy use in a hospital food system so that environmental impacts may be avoided. Therefore, quality and quantity are important factors in hospitals, whether producing high quality with instruments (reusable and disposable [single-use] products), on the one hand, or overproducing food or items, on the other. Life cycle cradle-to-grave studies are widely used to understand the environmental consequences of reusable and disposable products. The hypothesis of this study in the area of radiology focuses on imaging modalities. With the energy data from quantitative imaging, we can establish the role of healthcare teams in lowering the hospital energy footprint and thus contributing to hospital sustainability. Lower energy means less electricity, less power plant emissions (SOx, smog, CO2) into the air and water, and ultimately less impact on public health.
Thesis (Ph.D.)-- Wichita State University, College of Engineering, Dept. of Industrial, Systems and Manufacturing Engineering