A healthy dose of optimism


By Stratos Kouvrakis, Bupa APAC, Technical Support Manager.

My career has primarily revolved around ensuring the smooth operation of technology infrastructure and I love it. But lately, I've been eager to broaden my horizons, dive into new projects, and explore how healthcare can contribute to sustainability.

That's where Bupa’s eco-Disruptive program came into play which has been a game-changer for me, professionally and personally.

That's where Bupa’s eco-Disruptive program came into play which has been a game-changer for me, professionally and personally.

Stratos Kouvrakis, Bupa APAC, Technical Support Manager

While the program primarily involves working with start-ups to solve some of the major environmental issues facing our planet; it's also enabled me to work beyond the technology team and collaborate with people from across Bupa's Asia-Pacific network who do a lot of different things at work, but all share a passion for sustainability.

The big problem

When our team was discussing what we collectively wanted to get out of the program, one theme kept coming up. We all wanted to make an impact where healthcare is most often delivered… the hospital.

Healthcare is a resource-intensive industry with hospitals in particular using a range of disposable medical devices in their day-to-day procedures. Unfortunately, many of these products (important as they are) end up in landfill. As such it is not surprising that the healthcare industry is responsible for around 5 per cent of the emissions of greenhouse gases worldwide[1].

Good for the planet, good for the hip pocket

There is a lot of scary research when it comes to sustainability and climate change, however when searching for a start-up to work with we discovered a little nugget of hope.

It came in the shape of overseas research which suggested: “a device may be labelled as single-use because the manufacturer chooses not to conduct the studies needed to demonstrate that the device can be labelled as reusable[2].”

Enter Medsalv,

The ability to disrupt the medical device industry really appealed to us and led our team to reach out to Medsalv, a medical device company that specialises in the provision of reprocessed devices and refurbished devices.

According to their projections, hospitals can divert a staggering 80 to 100 per cent of target devices away from landfills while saving 40 to 75 per cent of the cost of new devices by opting for reprocessed devices from MedSalv.

Along with reducing wastage, this could also reduce the cost of delivering healthcare which is good for the planet and good for patient hip-pockets alike.

Early days and exciting times

I know what you’re thinking – “This seems like a big change for a small team.”

Well, you are right, there is a range of regulatory and clinical hoops to jump through when it comes to medical devices and the wellbeing of the patient must be at the core of any decision made. However, we are confident we can develop a test case to get the ball rolling and hopefully move bravely forward into a greener, healthier world, one reprocessed medical device at a time!

[1] The carbon footprint of healthcare settings: A systematic review - Rodríguez‐Jiménez - 2023 - Journal of Advanced Nursing - Wiley Online Library

[2] GAO-08-147 Reprocessed Single-Use Medical Devices: FDA Oversight Has Increased, and Available Information Does Not Indicate That Use Presents an Elevated Health Risk