Sustainable health system innovation in the medical cold chain

Sustainable health system innovation in the medical cold chain

With a portfolio of medical refrigeration devices boasting green credentials, B Medical Systems is providing robust cold chain solutions for sustainable health systems.

Sustainability is becoming more important for all industries, sectors, and organisations. Sustainable health systems are critical as they play a crucial role in achieving good societal health and welfare. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines an environmentally sustainable health system as one that improves, maintains, or restores health while minimising the negative impact on the environment. It also leverages opportunities to restore and improve in order to benefit the health and wellbeing of current and future generations.

Even though there are several components to consider when discussing what constitutes a sustainable health system, emission levels are a determiner. One of the contributors to emissions in a health system is the medical cold chain. It is common knowledge that healthcare institutions, such as hospitals, use cold chains in their daily operations and that these products can sometimes be very energy-intensive, resulting in significant CO2 emissions.

Hospitals and the sustainability challenge

Hospitals are at the centre of many clinical activities such as surgeries, blood transfusions, treatments, and more. They need to preserve many different types of biologicals such as medicines, vaccines, and various types of samples, which are often thermosensitive. To achieve this, they require an extensive cold chain able to meet the many different temperature requirements of all these thermosensitive specimens.

Because of this, hospitals are at the centre of discussions regarding how high-quality care can be given in the most sustainable and climate-friendly manner. Moreover, today’s healthcare systems are under tremendous pressure from the pandemic as new requirements add to the existing demands for good healthcare services and the constraints of disproportionate funding. These factors are pushing hospitals to turn to sustainable solutions that can deliver the lowest operational cost, in the most reliable and environmentally friendly way possible. In short, it is about how hospitals can create a healthier future for the communities they serve while addressing environmental concerns. Understanding the cold chain requirements of a healthcare system and ensuring that the solutions employed are energy-efficient, reliable, and use green refrigerants can bring more than one advantage to such healthcare institutions.

One aspect that needs to be considered while designing sustainable infrastructure is the operational cost. Often, to reduce the upfront purchase costs, several procurement departments opt for cheaper products. However, these products might feature high energy consumption and higher costs associated with HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning), resulting in a significantly higher total cost of ownership during the lifespan of the product. Moreover, products of mediocre quality can result in frequent breakdowns/repairs that can further add to the cost of ownership, and in extreme cases, lead to the premature replacement of the cold chain device and the procurement of new ones.

B Medical Systems and its range of solutions for sustainable health systems

B Medical Systems has a long legacy of helping governments and organisations across the world tackle every challenge related to the cold chain, including those related to the creation of sustainable health systems. For more than 40 years, the company has enabled several millions of children globally to access vaccines at their fullest potency, irrespective of their location. Already known for bringing several innovative products to the market, B Medical Systems’ journey of manufacturing sustainable products dates back to 2010 when it launched its first line of green products. This was followed by the launch of Solar Direct Drive (SDD) refrigerators and freezers that rely on solar power to ensure the stable and uniform intended temperature in the refrigerated space. Today, B Medical Systems is one of the few players offering a broad and complete portfolio of medical refrigeration devices that use green refrigerants, ideal for building sustainable health systems.

To bring more sustainable products to the market, the company continued its efforts of increasing the energy efficiency of its devices and designed its portfolios of medical refrigeration and blood management solutions to function with green gases. Specifically, B Medical Systems was able to significantly reduce harmful emissions by using green refrigerants like R600A, which has a zero-ozone depletion potential and minimal global warming potential. Additionally, structural features such as insulated doors and sealed gaskets that minimise cold air loss and heat conduction make its refrigeration solutions more energy efficient. These devices comply with regulations such as the EU F-Gas and the US SNAP. Furthermore, the company also possesses several Energy Star certified models in its portfolios.

To help hospitals in their sustainability efforts, B Medical Systems offers medical-grade laboratory refrigerators, pharmacy refrigerators, laboratory freezers, blood bank refrigerators, plasma storage freezers, ultra-low freezers, and transport boxes. These products are designed with a meticulous focus on quality and are EU MDR Class I/II(a) and US FDA Class I/II medical devices.

Sustainable innovation is the key to the future

The modern world is changing rapidly, demanding continuous innovation to solve ever more challenging issues. However, this progress is not worth achieving if it means meeting our needs by compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. Therefore, governments, companies, and individuals need to take action to curb their impact on the environment. In the medical cold chain field, manufacturers need to create sustainable refrigeration solutions that allow medical and research professionals to continue their efforts without increasing CO2 emissions. B Medical Systems, the world leader in the vaccine cold chain and a leading player in the medical refrigeration and blood management solutions fields, is up for the challenge and ready to provide hospitals, laboratories, vaccination centres and more with sustainable cold chain solutions which can reliably meet all their medical refrigeration needs. The company believes in building a sustainable infrastructure for all medical and pharmaceutical institutions, and it will keep innovating to help create sustainable healthcare systems around the world.

This article is from issue 24 of Health Europa Quarterly. Click here to get your free subscription today.

Contributor Details

Julian Precht

B Medical Systems S.a r.l.
Phone: +352 920 731 325
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