Posted by

Did you know that Hills Physiotherapy recycles almost every sheet of paper produced at our clinics? Given that our council is not longer able to recycle from our curbside pickup bins it’s vital to find innovative ways to get rid of this waste. Read on…

Hills Physiotherapy absolutely promotes environmental sustainability. This is a process that has taken the best part of 3 years, but we have been running in a largely sustainable way since 2015. When we acquired the practice in Emerald in 2011- we knew we had to digitise the clinic and bring it into line with what other newer clinics in “the city” were doing… little did we know that we would quickly outpace even our most tech savvy competitors! In 2011 we had a whole room dedicated to patient files in a giant metal compactor. There were over 14,000 patients files, (with an average of 6 sheets of paper in each) in our clinic. Step one was digitising all the old paper files, this happened in late mid 2012. This was a laborious task that took over 5 weeks of sorting, stacking, rewriting, deciphering, and data entry. All of this in a FREEZING cold back room of our Emerald clinic!

Paper Patient files in a compactor

Once these files were entered into our database, it opened up a whole new world. We could treat every patient at any of our clinics, and all of our information was right at our fingertips. It also meant that any practitioner could access the notes they needed could pick up where the previous practitioner left off. We were now in line with Patient Privacy laws that in 2013 were revamped to ensure digital safety and medical patient privacy. We had lept over two major hurdles, ensuring the security of our patient’s data and simultaneously securing this data from loss if/when we are faced with a bushfire in Emerald. Let’s be honest, a room full of paper in Emerald was never a really great idea!

The added benefit to all of this was gaining a whole new treatment room in Emerald by doing no more than clearing a room out. This happens to be a priority when renting a historically listed building! The second step in minimising our footprint was bringing our laundry services in house, using 5 or 6 star energy rated appliances. This allows us to control the chemicals (in fact, lack of…) that are used on our linens for your treatments. This also means that there isn’t a vehicle transporting the linens to a washing facility, using fuel/creating exhaust. We only use heat pump condenser dryers, so there is limited steam or heat produced outside of the machine. All we are left with after a complete dry cycle is a tray full of water, which is tipped down the sink or to water the practice pot plants. The side benefit of this is that all of our clinics smell of fresh laundry, and there is nothing better thank lying down for a massage on a dryer warm towel.

The next step in our minimisation process was to convert absolutely as much paperwork as possible to digital media. This means asking referring clinics to email us referrals, rather than printing them. Advertising using social media rather than by printed paper media. Patients are asked if they will accept an emailed receipt for their services, where possible. We use SMS reminders instead of business cards where possible. What you may not know is that we still do have paper that comes through the clinic, and EVERY SINGLE PIECE of this is shredded and comes back to our personal home veggie patch and is composted along with leaves, food scraps and garden waste. That compost is then spread throughout our garden in Emerald, and very often comes right back to the clinics in the form of zucchinis, lemons, oranges, grapefruit and tomatoes!

This picture is our actual home garden where our shredded waste is composted. 📷🌳