Is your practice missing Environmental Health? Here are 3 easy steps
It is easy to add environmental health to your medical practice, whether you are a nurse, nurse practitioner, information officer, pharmacist, manager, technician, clerk, or physician.
Environmental health can add a lot to what we accomplish as health professionals. The World Health Organization and the American Medical Association tell us state the day-to-day efforts of health professionals has a small impact on community health outcomes—about 10%. A larger impacts result from forces that we cannot control, such as genetics. The good news is that some 20-40% of health outcomes are attributable to environmental health. Speaking to your patients about environmental health can be very important.
“Environmental health”, according to the W.H.O., is the field of medicine that addresses all the physical, chemical, and biological factors external to a person that influence health. This includes the air we breathe and water we drink, but also safety and beauty of our cities and landscapes, as these also affect health. Here are 3 steps that you can take in your office today to share environmental health with your patients.
First, ask your patients to be outdoors for 30 minutes every day. Research demonstrates that people who get a dose of Mother Nature tend to be happier and healthier: lower blood pressure, anxiety, and all that. Some of them may take an interest in fostering nature’s protection, and we will all be better off for that.
Second, teach patients how to properly discard of unused medications. The answer is, “Into the garbage can, never into the sink or toilet.” The trash can is the correct answer because in most towns the garbage goes to city dumps that prevent toxins from reaching the natural environment, whereas medications in the sink or toilet end up in water treatment facilities that are not able to remove medications, hormones, and vitamins. These potential toxins end up in our rivers, lakes, oceans and water supplies. Your ten second dose of environmental health will mean that their unused medicines go safely into the trash.
Third, take a look at My Green Doctor, the free website that helps doctor offices to save money by adopting wise environmental practices and to share these ideas with your office staff and patients. Your office colleagues will learn how to add five minutes of Green team business to each regular office staff meeting. Every meeting is scripted so there is nothing for the office manager to study or prepare. The office will make gradual changes and most offices save money from the first month. You will find free brochures, posters and other teaching tips for your patients. Topics include saving water and energy saving, chemicals, transportation choices, recycling, purchasing, healthy foods, and climate change preparedness.
It takes two minutes to register at www.MyGreenDoctor.org. Ask your office manager and colleagues to look at My Green Doctor.
Hundred of healthcare offices and clinics use My Green Doctor. It’s easy and free for your office to make a big splash in environmental health.