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In this video Dr Jonny Groome will discuss what things you may wish to consider when procuring drugs and products.

The 4 phases of Life Cycle Analysis (LCA)

A. Defining the goal and the scope

What will be assessed?

  • The functional unit e.g. mass of drug, number or surgical gowns, a procedure such as a cystoscopy

What are your impact categories?

  • What element of environmental damage do you want to focus on?
  • e.g. global warming – CO2eq in Kgs would be the impact metric that you would measure
  • e.g. medical waste – mass of waste would be what you would measure

What are your boundaries?

  • This is what you WILL NOT be measuring

B. Inventory Analysis

Luckily there are many Life Cycle inventory databases available

  • This data can then be fed into a flow chart of what you want to look at e.g. a flow chart of the manufacture of a drug or even making yourself a cup of coffee!
  • We use these Life Cycle inventory databases to measure inputs and outputs at each stage of the cycle

We will now look at a simple example to illustrate: In 2016 Andersson et al looked at the LCA of use of paper cups when making coffee in their work place.

C. Impact assessment

  • Using the chosen impact category defined in goal and scopes
  • Chose a unified comparator e.g. Global warming Potential (GWP) – CO2 equivalent (kg), Solid waste generation – Mass (kg) in order to compare and contract different products within your flow chart

D. Interpretation

  • Identify significant issues in the assessment
  • Evaluate the LCA study itself, for example how is it complete?
  • Conclusions, limitations and recommendations
  • Recommendations, especially if you are looking to procure an item based on these results

Now let’s look at an example of a LCA assessment comparing reusable and single-use disposable laryngoscopes

What thing do you need to consider when using a reusable product?

  • Need to consider everything that is involved in reprocessing that product, whether it is the sterilisation or the repackaging or the refurbishment, if necessary
  • The team have put a boundary around the project, in this case that they were not going to measure the carbon footprint of the anaesthetist travelling to and from work each day as that would be the same for both products.

Have a look at the results. What are your thoughts about the conclusion of this LCA analysis? Are you surprised by their findings?

In the next section we will look at how to be procure smart.

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