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A Taste of Change

For as long as I can remember, I have always been someone who has had disposable water bottles at my convenience. Whether it was grabbing water on my way to exercise, class, or to work, I have always made sure to take a bottle of water with me before heading out the door and I always seemed to accumulate a pile of half empty bottles in my car. This process became a routine for me and I thought nothing of it, until a few months ago.

Over the years I had become so accustomed to buying 24 packs of water bottles that I became stuck in my ways. At work, most of my coworkers had reusable water bottles that they simply refilled in the company kitchen each day while I was bringing two or three water bottles with me each day. It became part of my morning routine to grab a few waters that I would drink throughout the day while heading out the door on my way to work. Then one day, a great day at that, the office decided to provide a water cooler service. During the first few weeks of the water cooler’s residency, I dabbled in cups of water here and there when I had drunk all of my water bottles that I had brought for the day. With each cup I thought to myself, this is some damn good, ice cold water and I found myself slowly gravitating towards the water cooler more often. Then one day I decided that I would make the switch from bringing disposable water bottles each day to bringing in a reusable water bottle that I could refill as frequently as I wanted.

I calculated out what I would save by making the conversion from disposable to reusable. I was purchasing a 24 pack of waters a week at $4/pack which equates to $208/year. When I decided to switch, my only cost was a new reusable water bottle which I purchased for $14. The switch from disposable to reusable results in $194 savings per year. This may not seem like a large amount in savings but when you’re a couple years out of school and still paying off those student loans, this money could go a long way. Not only did I gain a monetary benefit by switching, but I also found a physical benefit. I felt as though I was drinking more water per day so I decided to calculate it. I calculated that I drank 3 water bottles (16.9oz) per day which equates to 51oz per day. I then calculated that I now refill my reusable water bottle (24oz) 3 times a day which equates to 72oz per day. By making a simple conversion I had increased my daily water consumption by 30%! This achievement, to me, is more rewarding then the monetary savings because by switching my practice I had gained a health benefit without even realizing it!

This example of making a simple conversion from a disposable product to a reusable product is one that can be applied in even larger scales within healthcare organizations. Whether it is converting disposable blood pressure cuffs to reusable or disposable pneumatic tourniquets to reusable, there are plenty of opportunities all around us. Healthcare is in a period of time where hospitals need to find ways to save money in areas they may have not considered. I was stuck in my ways in purchasing disposable water bottles but once I had a taste of change, I was sold. Utilization is that taste of change for hospitals, but it’s those who identify the opportunities that realize the benefits.


Read Week 6: Are You Getting Your Money’s Worth?
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