Publish Date: January 31, 2022

How to Select a Sustainable Medical Waste Disposal Firm? IIT Delhi Study Shows Path

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New Delhi: Researchers led by IIT Delhi professor Dr. Surya Prakash Singh from the Department of Management Studies in a study have thrown light on how hospitals can select a sustainable medical waste disposal firm. Researchers say that the hospitals, which often encounters the difficulty in disposing their medical waste in a hygienic and sustainable way, can utilize a decision support framework proposed in their study.

The research paper titled ‘Selection of Healthcare Waste Disposal Firms Using a Multi-Method Approach’ by Prof. Surya Prakash Singh and his collaborator Dr. Ankur Chauhan, Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida, India was published in the Journal of Environmental Management (!).

The research study shows the path to facilitate the hospitals with a real-time decision support framework considering numerous criteria and constraints for the selection of healthcare waste disposal firm(s).

In Covid times, this becomes more relevant due to the increasing amount of healthcare waste and its hazardous and infectious composition such as syringes, masks, PPE kits, face shield, scalpels, bandages, blooded cottons, heavy metals, and chemicals etc. The World Health Organization has also advocated considering these wastes different from other wastes such as non-hazardous municipal solid waste.

“The aim of this study is to propose a hybrid multi criteria decision support framework integrated with mathematical model to tackle the issue of safe disposal of hazardous and infectious healthcare waste. The study shows a direction to the hospital management in selecting economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable healthcare waste disposal firm. Literature of the last twenty-five years has been carefully sifted through for leads in the identification of the selection criteria,” Prof. Surya Prakash Singh, Department of Management Studies, IIT Delhi said.

This study identifies ten key success factors from literature and field survey for selecting the best healthcare waste disposal firm. Findings reveal that Experience of the firm, Technology for disposal and Waste collection infrastructure acts as a cause in selecting a healthcare waste disposal firm. The key factors the study advises to look for before finalising a healthcare waste disposal firm include:

1. Manpower of a particular outsourcing firm.

2. Cases filed in a court of law against the HCW outsourcing firm.

3. The cost of providing services by an outsourcing firm to a particular hospital.

4. The reputation of existing clients of HCW outsourcing firm.

5. Number of years for which an outsourcing firm has been functional.

6. The technology available with an outsourcing firm for disposal and recycling of HCW.

7. HCW collection instruments and vehicles available with outsourcing firm.

8. Training and awareness programs about HCW provided to housekeeping staff and patients.

9. Capacity planning for recycling of HCW collected by outsourcing firm.

10.  Risk associated with the handling and disposal of HCW.

The study undermines the ‘Cost factor’ as the only determining criterion for the selection of HCW disposal firms. The study concludes that the risk management policy of the HCW firms has the highest significance in the selection and the cost charged by the HCW firm has the lowest significance when the HCW is outsourced to a single firm for disposal.

Hospitals in an Indian city in the northern region of India have been considered for the study, thus making it very relevant to the urban HCW problem. While it provides a ready-to-adopt model for HCW collection firm selection in this context, it also lays the basis for future work in other contexts such as a rural setup or other geographical regions of India.

The study provides a robust decision-making framework for the hospitals to select the right medical waste disposal firm.

“The decision model proposed by the study empowers the hospitals in the selection of the right firm for HCW disposal in a rational manner, reducing the confrontations between the various stakeholders such as hospitals, HCW firms, and environmental regulatory bodies like Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), etc., thus creating a situation of peaceful co-existence, Prof. Surya Prakash Singh added.

The researchers believe the outcomes of the study will have ramifications for policymakers in the health sector, hospitals, and entrepreneurs involved in the medical waste collection & reuse and environment regulating agencies.


                               Press Release Issued On : 29/01/2022