Sunday, February 17, 2008

Save Money and Environment with Green Hospitals

Recognizing that the health of the individual, the community and the earth are inextricably linked, hospitals are rising to the challenge of creating truly healthy environments. And though healthcare facilities have made great strides in adopting green practices, building and purchasing, there is always room for improvement.

Since 2000, when the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) started to promote its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, green building standard has taken off, producing environmentally sound schools and offices. Now the trend is catching on in health care, as hospitals seek to reduce toxins and provide a healthier, healing environment.

Green hospitals make good sense for the health of the entire community: patients, staff and visitors. To prevent spread of infection in hospitals, it's important to reduce exposures to germs—especially for patients with compromised immune systems—but the use of harsh chemical cleaners can cause respiratory problems. Conventional cleaning products, as well as many paints, adhesives and furnishings, can give off irritating, allergenic fragrances and toxic volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) such as formaldehyde; by choosing low-VOC products, hospitals help those in their care recover and improve conditions for staff. Simple design changes can work wonders, too. Studies have shown that poor indoor lighting increases levels of stress in hospital workers, leading to compromised medical care. "Daylighting" (that is, bringing daylight indoors with enlarged windows, light wells, clerestory windows and reflective surfaces), not only improves work performance but has been shown to improve patient recovery rates, while saving energy.

By taking up green practices, whether incrementally or from the ground up, many hospitals are managing to lower energy bills, reduce waste and achieve healthier indoor air.
At the same time, many unique challenges are presented by the complexity of hospital operations. Infection control requires strict cleaning procedures and frequent air changes, which increase the already-high energy costs of the 24/7 operations and sophisticated medical equipment that make hospitals among the greatest energy consumers of any institution. Through healthcare business discussions, green hospitals are finding that they can reduce operating costs and keep delivering energy even in emergencies.
Green hospitals also seek to cut back on the amount of material sent to incinerators or garbage dumps. Disposables, including gloves, syringes, swabs, blood bags and intravenous tubes, swell the waste stream.

Hospitals are recycling more, and, with an eye to reducing toxic waste, many hospitals are eliminating mercury and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which emit toxins in the air when incinerated. Mercury in landfills may also seep into ground water. They are greening their grounds with the aesthetic and therapeutic pleasures of healing gardens and providing fresher, nutritious organic and local food choices for patients.

The Principles
To recognize hospitals that are taking the lead in environmental stewardship, we can refer to the criteria of three organizations: USGBC's LEED standards; the Green Guide for Health Care, which adapts the LEED program to the special needs of hospitals; and Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E), an organization that emphasizes reduction of mercury and waste management.
Following are the common criteria of Green Hospitals;
1. Procurement: Does the hospital seek out recycled paper, water-efficient laundering, energy-efficient equipment or other green products?
2. Contaminants: Does the hospital have a program for reduction of toxics such as mercury and PVC (which can leach toxic plasticizers into fluids in IV drip bags and tubing)?
3. Water Efficiency: Is the hospital water-efficient, taking advantage of landscaping, water use reduction and innovative waste water use?
4. Materials and Resources: Does the hospital use recycled building materials and resources (such as water), local materials or certified wood?
5. Indoor Environmental Quality: What has the hospital done to improve indoor air quality through increased ventilation and incorporating low-VOC paints, adhesives and materials to avoid offgassing of formaldehyde, toluene and other carcinogenic compounds? What steps have been taken to create comfortable temperatures and to enhance daylighting?
6. Energy and Air Pollution: What has the hospital done to reduce energy consumption and atmospheric pollution, including chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) reductions, renewable energy, reduced energy consumption, green power and reducing ozone?
7. Siting: Was the hospital sited with consideration for alternative transportation, storm water management, urban redevelopment and reducing any impact on the surrounding environment?
8. Healthy Hospital Food: Do patient and staff meals include fresh, local and organic foods?
9. Green Education: Does the hospital train staff in waste reduction, toxics reduction and recycling?
10. Social Responsibility Programs: Does the hospital plan social responsibility programs for the stakeholders (community, patients, staff, etc) in order to have a responsible healthcare business.
11. Green Cleaning: Does the hospital use cleaning products that do not release hazardous chemicals? Are staffs trained in their use?
12. Waste reduction: Does the hospital have a program to segregate medical waste and to reduce, re-use and recycle general waste and furniture and equipment that are no longer needed?
13. Healing Gardens: Does the hospital have healing gardens where patients, staff and visitors can reflect, relieve stress and reconnect with nature? Are there green roofs? Does the landscaping use native plants, which reduce water consumption and the use of pesticides?

As we see nowadays, many healthcare investments in the middle east region, we are still looking to see pioneer green hospital project that will lead others in the same way.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Professional Management for Corporate Initiatives

When it comes to corporate initiative, it is difficult to see such agresive and well-educated professionals in the picture. Companies always focus on core business and look for those 'hunters' to operate and increase sales, profit and other kind of benefits.

The strategy should be first decided for the initiatives instead of making spontanous donations. That strategy will draw the target, way and resulting benefits of planned social responsibility activities. Upon activity, next step will be hiring specialist employees or consultants for the operation. As every dollar is important for the core business, same mind should work for the initiative management and operation.

Company management is accountable for every investment, as weel as initiative expenses to shareholders, community and government. Initiative planing would end up with crisis if cost efficieny will not be considered. Reporting will be the next issue to focus on. Results of the initiatives should be well-presented with those non-financial reports.

Cost efficiency, strategic planning, reporting, etc are the common ways of today's professional management. Companies will achieve their professional initiative and social responsibility goals only with professional teams. It is the time to look for professionals to run and achieve corporate social responsibility goals.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Self Employment in Middle East

Everybody remembers first to check the job ads, when we come to employment. Job descriptions, qualifications, responsibilities vary thorugh position features. It is a hard period to wait to wait the result after application; you should be the right person for position announced. You should have challenge with hundreds of applicants to get the job. Every failing result breaks your motivation.

What about to creat yourself the right position for you, hands on experience. We name that effort as entrepreneurship. An entrepreneur risks his own capital, services, and skills in a company to create right position comlying with his qualifications, his skills and his experiences. You do not have hundreds to challenge with to get the job, however it is your own challenge, to build own position. Anyone can start a business! The secret is picking a venture that fits your entrepreneurial personality and skills.

Nowadays, unemployment is the top concern at Middle East and everybody is looking for the right solution to create millions of jobs. Goverments and NGOs are providing extensive efforts to bring longlife projects to create employment for more people in the future.

We at Abdul Latif Jameel Community Services Programs (ALJ-CSP) believe the power of self employment and supporting entrepreneurship spirit with our programs. Since ALJ was established at 2003, thousands of entrepreneurs got supports through our programs. Created businesses already started to create other job opportunities.

We have levels for our self employment programs from 500 SR to million Riyals. We are willing to support all levels of community at their self employment challenge.

Productive Family program focuses on the women at home, who are having job at home to support the family economy. Service (cooking, beauty, etc), commissioning (cosmetic, diet products, etc), producing (cloth, jewelry, etc) are the main topics of home businesses of our clients. Our loaners are not only getting loan support; they are also receiving basic courses, seminars, business supports through our programs with free of charge.

Small Business support programs are getting second level place at our programs. Loan support is starting from 5,000 SR and reaching to 100,000 SR. All clients are receiving a small business start-up course before receiving loan. We want those new entrepreneurs to realize what business is, before facing with the difficulties in the business. Those courses are being arranged with the contribution of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and takes one week. Since, most of the people can not attend to the courses, ALJ-CSP is working on a e-learning solution for small business course and it will be released at the end of Summer 2007. A short interview takes place after course completion to check the understanding and readiness of the entrepreneur. We either expect the entreprenuer to come with his or her project or a business model will be offered to the person.

Project will be reviewed and business plan will be re-worked by our consultants in order to check if it is doable or not. The result of review recommendations will be shared with entrepreneur and loan will be released after both parties satisfaction.

Our consultants for small projects work with entrepreneur if he or she does not have a business idea. Skill test and couple tests directs us to recognize entrepreneur and we come with a business offer for his or her self employment solution.

Taxi and Truck program is one of those projects to offer to the male entrepreneurs. Entrepreneur can buy the vehicle with no profit at the installment for three years to start his business.

Franchising program is also another entreprenurial support program at ALJ-CSP. Small scale franchising opportunities will be provided to the people for their self employment entreprise.

Our aim is to provide a total employment package to the entrepreneurs with our small business projects, loan plus ready – proven business model that will ensure the success and future of the business.

All clients who received loan from ALJ-CSP for their self employment will have monthly visits by the job creation officer (JCO). JCO checks current situation of the business and keeps entrepreneur in touch with the program.

Already, our small business clients started to create new job opportunities and one entreprenerial self employment support is creating more than one job opportunities.

The other main point that is encouraging us is clients that are passing upper levels of programs. Productive Family Program (Microfinance) clients started to establish their companies and to employ other people for their businesses.

As per our records for last three years and entrepreneurship results from all over the world, we believe that self employment is another important solution for unemployment problem. Young talented people at Middle East are looking for such supports to have their own business.

The most successful leaders all over the world always reached to that point, coming from entrepreneurial startups.

Corporate Social Responsibility & Healthcare Business in Middle East

A study by Walker Research found that when price and quality are equal, 76% of consumers would switch brands or retailers if a company is associated with a good cause.

Healthcare business works to improve and maintain individual and community health. Healthcare sector proactively seeks out the health needs of the community and address those needs through the strategic growth of programs and services. All the stakeholders in the healthcare sector (Medical Equipment manufacturers & dealers, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, etc.) have responsibility for social and economical development. Corporate Social Reponsibility (CSR) is the systemized way of resonsible business.

CSR is essential to the long prosperity of companies as it provides the opportunity to demonstrate the human face of business, a vital link to society in general and, in particular, to the communities in which businesses are located. CSR is about how businesses align their values and behaviour with the expectations and needs of stakeholders - not just customers and investors, but also employees, suppliers, communities, regulators, special interest groups and society as a whole.

Key CSR planning issues include governance, responsible sourcing, eco-efficiency, environmental management, stakeholder engagement, labour standards, employee and community relations, social equity and human rights.

Developing (and communicating) a comprehensive CSR strategy takes time, commitment, focus, and designated people and financial resources. And, it requires commitment from the executive offices on down to every individual department and staff position. To be truly effective, your CSR strategy must permeate all you do – from hiring to branding to manufacturing to sales – and it must become part of your “corporate DNA”.

Healthcare companies would focus on the needs of community, environment, workplace and marketplace to reach and plan successful CSR programs. Those closer relationship and familarization will make the business stronger at risk management. It’s been shown that companies who put responsible business at their core innovate and develop new products and services, access new markets, recruit a more diverse and talented workforce and are better placed to minimise risk. Risk management skills in healthcare sector are always identified as the main critical success factor.

CSR is not only about fulfilling a duty to society; it can also bring competitive advantage. CSR always will be a main effect on the customer royalty and today’s marketing plannings can not miss such social and business investment.

Through an effective CSR programme, companies can:
• improve their access to capital
• enhance their brand image
• increase sales
• attract, retain, motivate and develop employees
• sharpen decision-making
• improve risk management
• reduce costs.

Quick CSR Samples from Healthcare Business
• Environmental waste control and recycling solutions
• Check-Up and diagnosis focused field projects
• Training opportunities for young people
• Research projects or Supports to projects
• Satellite or portable rural area clinics
• Awareness and training programs
• Choice of suppliers through their CSR programs
• Improving the quality of management and service
• Etc.

ConclusionHealthcare business sector should be the perfect sample of responsible business and should lead people and other businesses to invest for society. Healthcare sector in Middle East should underscore its role as a good corporate citizen with a number of activities in the fields of education and research, environment, social needs, sports and culture to be the leader of sustainable development. Are you ready to get step front with your CSR programs?

Monday, April 16, 2007


Everybody has something to donate and you can plan your donation as volunteering. Volunteering does not mean only to fly overseas and spend your time at mountain villages. You can also donate your time as online from your chair and no need to go anywhere.

UN has launched an online volunteering project that matches people who are willing to volunteer and the organizations who need somebody who will assist them online. The system works through current announcements of organizations. You just need to register yourself and apply one of the open position.

You can read and coach some documents, you can check project analysis and comment, you can prepare curricula for training organizations, you can prepare professional proposals for those

You can reach to the online UN Online Volunteering website through following link:

Since, all of us are living with our computers and facing to our screens everyday, it is not a big deal to spend three-five hours per week on the same screen as volunteering activity.

So, if you have a computer with internet access and couple free hours, you have something to donate...

Thursday, March 8, 2007


During a deep psychiatry lesson, the Professor came to a point where he said that the highest level of personality, which a person can achieve, is to be happy by doing something worthwhile for others. This came to my mind years later when I started to work at Abdul Latif Jameel Community Services Programs (ALJ-CSP).

It is not that difficult to make yourself happy, because you know yourself, what you like, the needs you have, and the point you wish to reach. However, it is quite difficult to try to increase happiness of other people. You should know all his needs, the character of the individual, and most importantly, how to approach the person in question.

ALJ-CSP lives within the community and faces the same problems as they face. First of all, a group of experts clarifies the source of the problem, than undertkaing a research toward understanding the issue with all surrounding issues. The pilot trials constitute the next step. All these findings are collected in a poll and a conclusion and system development constitute the final step prior to definite launch of the program.

The programs periodically go through survey from the already constituted professional system at the business. Statistics, annual financial reports and feedbacks assist in making decisions and lifting efficieny of the programs. Next year’s programs are prepared and planned according to all these results. Review of the figures leads the ideas for new programs.

All these activities are being planned to increase the happiness of the community. ALJ-CSP is also creating programs in order to keep the improved level of happiness. All Programs are supported with extra trainings, additional programs and more social activities . These programs are working in order to decrease the gap between the different levels of the community.

The success of ALJ-CSP is on the rise by more comprehensive knowledge about, and by being closer to the community. The achieved programs are becoming excellent examples for other corporate foundations and demonstrate how one can achieve happiness by making others happy.

Friday, February 16, 2007


The use of air medical services has become an essential component of the health care system in the world. Appropriately used air medical critical care transport saves lives and reduces the cost of health care. Helicopters fly point-to-point, minimizing the time out of hospital, and avoiding the traffic delays experienced by ground ambulances.

Helicopter air ambulances are used for the transport of patients from the scene of an injury to a hospital, and for shorter flights between smaller hospitals and trauma centers or specialty hospitals (burn or cardiac centers, for instance).

Fixed wing air ambulances (airplanes) are used for transporting patients on longer inter-hospital flights. In fact, 54% of all air medical transports are hospital to hospital, 33% are scene responses, and 13% are other types (e.g. organ procurement and specialty/neonatal/ pediatric team transport). In 1926, the United States Army Air Corps used as a first time air medical service with converted aircraft to transport patients from Nicaragua to an Army hospital in Panama.

The first civilian hospital-based medical helicopter service was established in 1972 at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado. By 1980, some 32 helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) prograir medical services with 39 helicopters were flying more than 17,000 patients a year. By 2005, 272 services operating 753 rotor-wing (helicopter) and 150 dedicated fixed wing aircraft were in operation in the United States. All aircraft—fixed wing and helicopter—conduct about 500,000 patient transports in the United States alone each year, saving millions of lives each decade.

Air medical service is a known lack of healthcare service at Middle East. It is a need after considering road traffic accident statistics and rural hospital care levels. Regardless to the very few numbers of private services, almost the entire air medical services are being conducted by governmental sources (Army, Police, etc…) and most of them are operational for interhospital transfers. The system works and transfers patients after long time taking authority approvals. Other common problems with these services are the low level of medical care quality and lack of quality standards and accreditation from any international air medical service institute (CAMTS, EURAMI, etc.). Middle East countries still do not have functional HEMS operation which serves that service direct to public under national pre-hospital emergency system. Saudi Arabian Red Crescent Society will be the first HEMS Operator in the Middle East with the sponsorship of Abdul Latif Jameel Community Services Programs. (

“Time is life” is a saying that means death and disability from severe injuries, heart attacks, strokes, medical and surgical complications, and other time-dependent conditions often can be avoided if the right care is provided quickly enough. The “Golden Hour” concept provides that along the route to the surgeon’s knife in that first hour, a patient should benefit from an organized EMS system which provides increasingly advanced care (e.g. BLS to ALS to the physician-level care provided by air medical crews). In the early 1980’s, the first analytical attempts to determine the life-saving impact on mortality by HEMS response to injury scenes began to appear, largely demonstrating reductions in mortality compared with ground systems. Examples of recent study findings demonstrate that: · Patients severely injured enough to require inter-facility transfer were four times more likely to die after the HEMS serving that area was discontinued. ·

HEMS reduced injury mortality by 24% in a multi-center study with some 16,000 patients in Boston. · Even injury patients in urban areas experienced a transport-time benefit by HEMS in 23% of the cases. Helicopters and fixed wing aircraft cost millions of dollars to purchase or lease, operate, house and maintain. Highly trained crews available and the infrastructure which governs, trains, funds, supports, and links them and their service to the EMS system, are also expensive. As few systems are publicly funded, maintaining the availability of this essential resource inevitably translates into a single patient mission charge that seems expensive in comparison with a lower-priced ground ambulance for the same mission. It has proven a mistake, however, to make such an isolated comparison and to equate the lower charge with cost-effectiveness and the higher charge with cost-prohibitiveness.

At least one carefully constructed economic model comparing helicopter versus ground EMS has been crafted. It demonstrates that on a system level (that is, funding a system of air ambulances versus a system of ground ambulances covering the same large geographic area and volume of calls), the cost per patient transported would be $4,475 for the ground system and $2,811 for the air system (1991 dollars). A cost-effectiveness study of helicopter EMS for trauma patients by Gearhart and colleagues concluded that such service is, indeed, cost-effective. Air medical services at the Middle East should be well-planned and integrated into the national healthcare systems in order to save avoidable mortalities and provide equivalent quality of healthcare service to the public.