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A Systems Approach to Designing a Circular Economy of Small Medical Devices

Format: Papers, RSD12, RSD12 Papers Pre-release

Mohd Shoaib, Antuela Tako, Armando Vargas-Palacios and Ramzi Fayad
The current linear economy (LE) based take-make-use-waste model adopted by the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) and other care settings for medical devices is environmentally unsustainable. A significant proportion (approximately 10%) of the NHS emissions is derived from medical devices (NHS England, 2022). The alternative, a circular economy (CE) system, has the potential to mitigate the environmental impacts associated with LE (Kramer & Schmidt, 2023 and Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2013).

This research aims to assess the feasibility of a circular economy system in the context of small medical devices (SMDs). A circular economy system is a socio-technical system consisting of multiple organisations that are interconnected and operate at different levels. The research considers the life cycle of four reference SMDs (syringes, inhalers, surgical tools, and glucose monitors) to identify opportunities for interventions that can drive a transition toward CE. This involves adopting an integrated approach leveraging multi-disciplinary expertise from design, materials, and reprocessing (concerning recovery strategies) domains to drive innovation. We use systems thinking tools to undertake a holistic analysis in the design of circular economy systems for small medical devices. Furthermore, simulation modelling is used to quantify the environmental and financial impact of circular interventions in the value chain of small medical devices. We discuss the challenges faced in designing and assessing circular economy systems.
Keywords: Systems Thinking
Circular Economy
Sustainability
Small Medical Devices
Healthcare

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Citation Data

Author(s): Mohd Shoaib, Antuela Tako, Armando Vargas-Palacios and Ramzi Fayad
Year: 2023
Title: A Systems Approach to Designing a Circular Economy of Small Medical Devices
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD12
Article No.: pre-release
URL: https://rsdsymposium.org/circular-economy-small-medical-devices
Host: Georgetown University
Location: Washington DC, USA
Symposium Dates: October 6–20, 2023
First published: 30 September 2023
Last update: no update
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404

Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design, RSD12

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