Keywords: medical waste, policy window, health care technology, US hospitals, public policy
Managing medical waste technology: how US hospitals adapted to change
A total of 78 US hospitals responded to a survey in a nation-wide sample for the purpose of analysing their medical waste technology management practices under changing laws and regulations in the early 1990s. Findings show that 77% of these hospitals implemented changes in one or more of their operations in storage, treatment, handling, transport and disposal of medical waste and staff training because of federal, state or local laws. The article includes backgrounds of those responsible for managing this technology, various hospital problems encountered, benefits and costs of implementing these laws, and roles of infectious control committees. A brief discussion of the US Medical Waste Tracking Act is included. Global implications and future needs are also discussed.