A year after launching its Greening the OR initiative, Practice Greenhealth continues to expand the program by building the number of business sponsors and hospital participants and by utilizing technology and "green" surgeons to build buzz about the program's benefits.

The program has recruited nine sponsors who support the initiative and approximately 100 endorsing hospitals that participate by developing best practices and case studies and conducting pilot programs, says Bob Jarboe, executive vice president of business development, Practice Greenhealth.

To grow exposure to the initiative, Practice Greenhealth was preparing to roll out a virtual tour of a model OR at the CleanMed Conference in Phoenix earlier this month. Practice Greenhealth has worked with the Turner Healthcare division of Turner Construction and architectural firm HDR to create the tour. By wearing special headgear, the tour experience is as educational and realistic as possible, Jarboe says. The tour will be offered at future health care industry conferences, too, he adds.

As an extension of Greening the OR, Practice Greenhealth established the Council for Environmentally Responsible Surgery, which is made up of a growing number of surgeons who wish to work on greening ORs throughout the country.

Practice Greenhealth also is in the process of developing an electronic tool that will assist hospitals in evaluating their OR purchasing practices, and determine the impact of specific actions and purchases on making the OR more sustainable, Jarboe says.