Earth week 2021 is upon us and it reminds us to take stock of what we’re doing and think of ways we could improve – all in the name of restoring our planet from some of the devastating impact we humans have had on it.
Options for sustainability
Even as COVID-induced reductions in travel and commuting have given the planet a bit of a breather (sleep apnea pun intended), other issues, like a spike in consumption of single-use plastics and the disposal of mountains of throw-away masks, have reared up to show us there are always areas to improve.
At Apnea Health, we know that change starts with action. We’ve worked hard over the years to make sure we keep our own footprint as light as possible, and we’re always looking for more ways to help our patients, and our planet, breathe easier.
Electrifying the fleet
Our enthusiasm for the environment is electric – and so is our fleet of cars! With our easy access to clean hydro-electric power here in Quebec, there’s no reason not to jump on the growing wave of e-vehicles.
Our staff travel all over Greater Montreal to visit our 8 clinics (with a 9th opening soon in Chambly) and to visit patients. As our fleet of cars ages, we’re committed to replacing them with electric ones – we’re now up to four e-vehicles and we love them!
Taking the operation paperless
Back in 2019, when we reached 11 years of stockpiling paper patient files, we decided it was time to update to electronic medical records (EMR). Patient files may not sound like a lot, but if you’d visited some of the rooms in our clinics, you’d have seen what over a decade of paper files looked like! All those filing cabinets were cramping our style – so it was time to do something and we haven’t looked back.
That isn’t to say it wasn’t a challenge; digitizing all those files was a monumental job, and we also had to learn to change our habit of relying on notes jotted down on paper. But all of our patient files are now digital, and our clinics are feeling a whole lot airier for it! It means patient information is faster and easier to get to, all while saving trees.
Keeping plastic bottles out of the landfill
The reality of CPAP treatment is that humidifiers require distilled water – the average patient will go through 23 x 4L plastic bottles of distilled water every year. Apnea Health has taken action by providing free distilled water to our patients in refillable jugs – it costs us a bit extra to do it, but we’re committed because it saves thousands upon thousands of plastic bottles from getting thrown out.
Since we started the program, we’ve given out more than 5,000 refillable jugs, and our distillers are working overtime to keep up with demand and keep as much needless plastic out of our landfills as we can. Just think – at 23 refills, that’s potentially 115,000 less plastic bottles per year that get tossed!
Exploring ways to do more for the environment
We know there’s always more we can do to reduce waste in our clinics, and we’ll keep working hard to make even more changes to protect our planet. A new and encouraging trend, for example, is the use of the Lumin ultra-violet CPAP accessory cleaning system to clean and reuse Covid masks rather than throwing them all away.
We always keep an eye on reducing single-use items, and we never stop looking for new and better ways to make our clinics environmentally friendlier than ever!