UCSF Sustainability Stories

Deborah Fleischer, July 2012

Spotlight on UCSF Sustainability Award Winner:  Eddie Book

eddie2The Eddie Book residents from the Pediatrics Department, led by Catherine Ratti, UCSF Pediatric Residency Program Manager, and three second year residents, Suratha Elongo, Adam Schickedanz, and Maura Madou, were recently recognized with a UCSF Sustainability Award for their efforts to reduce waste and costs by switching the design of the Eddie Book to a durable binder format and an easily navigable electronic format with iPhone and Droid “apps”.

The Eddie Book is the UCSF Department of Pediatric’s directory and clinical reference manual. Traditionally, it has come in a spiral-bound format that is reprinted in its entirety every one to two years.  The switch to a durable binder format will save $2,900 over the next year and reduce waste.

We had the opportunity to ask the Eddie residents a few questions about sustainability at UCSF.

1. Why do you think sustainability is important for UCSF?

Sustainability is definitely not only important to UCSF; it is paramount to preservation, maintenance, and innovation as we move forward in all realms. Sustainability as it pertains to the sharing of medical knowledge and guidelines specifically requires attention to an infrastructure that will allow continual updating and changing as we gain new knowledge as a field and as our priorities and resources change.

2. What do you see as the link between health and the environment?

Health and the environment are inextricably linked.  Without a healthy environment, it is nearly impossible for individuals maintain physical health. Whether you’re discussing environmental pollutants and asthma incidence or well-maintained green space and physical activity, the environment where people live, work, and play has direct consequences for their physical health.  As health care providers, it is our responsibility to safeguard the environment for the health of our patients the same way we attend to their physical health in the clinic.

3. What accomplishment are you most proud of around promoting sustainability at UCSF?

We wanted to keep the tradition of the pediatric resident’s “Eddie Book” alive in the shape of its predecessors, but we are proud to have begun the process of its transformation to fit the needs of current and future resident classes by making it easily editable and electronically accessible.  For the print version we created a durable binder format so that the casing can be recycled for many years to come.  Furthermore rather than reprinting every single page, in future years we can just reprint those pages that have been updated.  Recognizing that in this day and age, much of our lives revolve around both computers and PDAs, we also designed an easily navigable electronic version.  We created a dynamic PDF with internal bookmarks, links, and search which simulates an iPhone “app” when used with iPhone’s iBooks as well as ezPDF Reader on Droids.  This PDF can similarly be accessed on any computer from our residency program Website.  As more and more people gain familiarity and comfort with this new electronic version, we anticipate that in the future we may only need to print a few print versions. 

4. What is one action you would like to see your fellow staff/students take?

With the transition to more robust electronic medical records at Parnassus, Mt. Zion, and San Francisco General Hospital, and the VA, we now no longer have any excuse not to move most –if not all – of our clinical references, correspondence related to patient care, clinical documentation, and all of those slips of paper we tote around in our pockets to electronic formats.  It would be wonderful to see UCSF lead the way among academic medical centers toward becoming paper-free and doing that much more to protect our natural resources.

Congratulations to the Eddie Book residents.