Healthcare emits 10% of the US’s Greenhouse Gases (GHGs), 5% of the UK’s and Canada’s, and 7% of Australia’s GHGs [1-4]. While they serve critical functions in our society, hospitals are among the most energy-intensive buildings to operate, and health care facilities are hubs of resource use and waste generation, including high-value and high-embodied energy items such as single-use medical devices/products and pharmaceutical drugs. Given the size of the healthcare sector and its contribution to resource use and emissions, both in the US and worldwide, it has a major role to play in achieving climate change solutions overall. Further, the sustainable engineering and industrial ecology communities have made considerable contributions to other sectors, e.g., metals and minerals, chemicals, automotive, buildings, fuels, power, yet healthcare remains understudied.
As with most topics in sustainability, multiple perspectives must be brought together to develop research-based and data-driven guidelines. The main aim of this Virtual Special Issue (VSI) is to collect research papers focusing on sustainable healthcare and are broadly in alignment with the aforementioned workshop’s outcomes and circular economy . Specifically, guest editors encourage submissions of original articles that report significant research contributions, case studies, and review articles covering topics including, but not limited to:
- Clinical aspects of healthcare sustainability using industrial ecology principles and tools, e.g., life cycle assessment (LCA)
- Greener materials and processes, medical supply production and reprocessing, drug and medical device management, clinical consumption patterns, and alternative clinical care pathways
- Environmental assessments at the hospital/health system level with a focus on material flow analyses
- Frameworks for approaching top-down national-level benchmarking
- Product Category Rules for medical supplies
- Environmental sustainability within value-based healthcare reform, including cost-effectiveness methods and environmental decision-making
- Robust, standardized metrics to define environmental performance and gauge progress specifically related to sustainable healthcare
- Waste treatment pathways, their environmental and social impacts, and potential for circular economy practices within medical waste management
- Tradeoffs between excessive infection control practices and avoidable waste and pollution
- Innovative and circular economy solutions for the healthcare sector and activities to minimize environmental impacts
A VSI is an online-only grouping of special issue articles that are traditionally assigned to a single special issue. The articles in a VSI are assigned a unique identifier and published in a regular journal issue. The unique identifier enables the simultaneous addition of the article to a VSI on ScienceDirect.com. Articles grouped together in a VSI retain their original citation details. A VSI speeds up the publication of individual articles because unlike the publication process of a conventional special issue, a VSI does not require all articles of the issue to be ready for publication at the same time; each article can be published at its own pace.
Manuscript Preparation and Submission
While preparing a manuscript, the "Guide for Authors" in the Resources, Conservation, and Recycling website must be followed. During the submission process through the Elsevier Editorial System (EES) at http://ees.elsevier.com/recyl, the option "Sustainable Healthcare" should be selected when asked to indicate the "Article Type".
Manuscript submission deadline: December 31, 2019
Tentative date for publication: As soon as accepted (VSI)