Using A Total Cost of Ownership Approach for Sustainable Lab Products

Janet Howard, Practice Greenhealth
Andrew Madden, Dana Farber Cancer Institute

With tremendous cost pressures within the U.S. health care system, health care providers are looking at different ways to save money. For many medical devices, including lab products, there are submerged costs that are not always reflected in the purchase price and may not be considered during purchasing decisions. To reduce these costs and associated impacts, the total cost of ownership of a product or service should be included during purchasing decisions to assess the full cost to an organization.

To address this need, a total cost of ownership tool has been developed to provide users and purchasers with a standardized and systematic way to consider the environmental costs of products that are procured. These environmental costs are not always readily apparent and may include things like the cost of energy, water or waste disposal. Partnering with Trucost, Practice Greenhealth worked collaboratively with hospitals and health systems, suppliers, and GPOs to build, test, and now deploy a tool for health care.

This session will share this unique health care tool and the outcomes from a health care organization that used the tool to assess lab freezers and the savings achieved.

Learning Objectives

  • Define a total cost of ownership approach to justify sustainable lab products that save money - and energy, water, and waste.
  • Demonstrate through a case study how to calculate a total cost of ownership for lab devices.
  • Cite how to use this unique tool to present to leadership for procuring sustainable lab products.
  • Know how a


Janet Howard is Director, Member Engagement and Healthier Hospitals Program for Practice Greenhealth. Practice Greenhealth leads the conversation in the sweet spot of environmental sustainability, staff engagement, fiscal responsibility, wellness, population health and quality patient care for the 21st century. Janet manages the member engagement team in providing technical assistance, fresh content and education for its over 1,000 health care provider members. Janet is the content lead on engaging leadership and materials and waste. Her latest toolkit focused on “Less Food to Landfill.” She pioneered environmental interventions in health care from 1991-2004 for Continuum Health Partners in New York City. She is a frequent writer on health care sustainability issues for outlets like Greenbiz, CSR Wire and Health Care Design Magazine. Janet uses data and storytelling to engage, motivate and celebrate environmental excellence in health care. You can read her columns on her linked in page ( and follow her on twitter (@janny14.)

Andrew Madden is a veteran healthcare professional with over 30 years of experience. He has held a wide range of leadership roles within the healthcare supply chain setting. Currently, as the Senior Director of Supply Chain at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, he is a senior member of the Institute Operations team with a primary focus on leadership of Supply Chain.


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