Master’s student maps waste yield from endoscopy

Maria Sofia Clercx Lao is the first master’s student to graduate from Convergence’s Sustainable Health Programs. She mapped the workflow and waste yield of an endoscopy. ‘Visualizing a problem is the first step toward a more sustainable approach.’

Would you want to spend a week collecting all the waste from Erasmus MC endoscopies? TU Delft Industrial Design student Maria Sofia doesn’t shy away from the task. It was ‘gross’ but very informative. For her graduation project, Maria Sofia investigated the workflow during an endoscopy and how much waste the department produces.

‘Currently, no waste is separated in the treatment room after an endoscopy, except for sharp objects such as needles’, she points out 

First step  

Maria Sofia shared photos of her waste research with the rest of the department. That made quite the impression. ‘Sometimes I could feel very small during my research. We are facing such a big challenge. But the reactions in the department were positive. I think visualizing a problem is the first step toward a more sustainable approach.’  

The second step would then be addressing the problem. Maria Sofia took a crack at that, too. In Co-Creation sessions, together with the nurses of the endoscopy department, she looked for suggestions on how to improve sustainability. ‘The issue is not as simple as just putting an extra trash can somewhere. Every small adjustment is very complex, especially because of the many protocols and guidelines. It has to be sustainable and remain feasible for the nurses. Ultimately, they are the ones who have to do the work.’   

To the right, Maria Sofia and her supervisor Jan Carel Diehl.

Sustainable Health Program Zee  

Maria Sofia summarized her results in a report. Graduates who join the project after Maria Sofia can further work on the challenges. Maria Sofia did her master’s internship for the convergence Sustainable Health Program ZEE (Zero Emission Endoscopy). That program is committed to making endoscopy departments in hospitals more sustainable.