The Sustainable Hospital

Working together with practitioners scientists from the fields of social ecology, sociology of health and economics introduce the concept of sustainable development into a pilot hospital. The feasibility study establishes the base for ecological, social and economic improvements within the hospital.

Short Description




The project "The sustainable hospital" aimed to work for and with a pilot hospital to carry over the concept of sustainable development to the hospital context, an issue which until now had practically never been closely examined. It was necessary to implement a variety of scientific approaches and to initiate a dialogue with practicians. The composition of the team and its style of working reflect these necessities; for ten months, an interdisciplinary team of researchers came together from the fields of social ecology, the sociology of health, and environmental economics to cooperate with the Otto Wagner Hospital, the Vienna Association of Hospitals (Wiener Krankenanstaltenverbund) and the coordinator of the Austrian Network of Health-Promoting Hospitals.

Health is of central importance both as a result and as a prerequisite of sustainable development. As core organisations in the health services system, hospitals make an essential contribution to public health. At the same time, however, hospitals themselves face pressing problems that call the sustainability of the services they offer into question. Here is where this feasibility study comes into play. We assume that there is a large and realistic potential for improvement in sustainable hospital administration, if the concept of sustainable development is integrated systematically into hospital organisation.

We developed a "model of sustainable development for a hospital" as well as an evaluation grid for sustainability. On the basis of which problem areas currently exist for a hospital, three areas with significant potential for improvement were identified for interventions, and practicable solutions were developed. The areas of intervention and the examples of use are:

  • Management system for an intelligent organisation; the focus here is on the production of knowledge to manage planned change
  • Planning of patient-oriented, effective services and capacity; using the example of the pulmological station's Weaning Center a competence center for artificial respiration patients
  • Health-promoting task fulfilment; using the example of "Bauen - Arbeiten - Wohnen" (Building - Working - Living), the focus is on improving work structures and processes with regard to efficiency, employee orientation, employee health and ecological compatibility.

It is planned to realise these examples of use in the course of a follow-up project, for which funding is being applied for in the context of the current request for proposals from "Fabrik der Zukunft" ("Factory of the Future"). Provided that they receive to permission to do so, Otto Wagner Hospital would like to participate. Thus the feasibility study discussed here has provided the foundation for an implementation project, in terms of both scientific content and networking.

We were able to raise our practical project partner's level of understanding and awareness for sustainable development, and we were able to demonstrate that the "sustainable hospital" idea means using existing elements in the hospital in the spirit of sustainable development - and expanding upon them systematically to increase the scope of sustainable development.

Project Partners

Project manager

DI Willi Haas
Tel.: +43 (0) 1-522 4000-413

Mag. Kurt Grünwald
Tel.: +43 (0) 1-523 61 05-27

Institut für interdisziplinäre Forschung und Fortbildung

Project partners
Ludwig Boltzmann Institut f. Medizin- Gesundheitssoziologie
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Jürgen M. Pelikan
Mag. Peter Nowak
Mag. Thomas Stidl

Österr. Gesell. f. Theorie u. Praxis d. Gesundheitsfördg
Mag. Dr. Ursula Trummer

Abteilung für Wirtschaft und Umwelt der WU Wien
Univ. Prof. Dr. Uwe Schubert
Dr. Sabine Sedlacek

Wiener Krankenanstaltenverbund
Mag. Margit Wiederschwinger

Otto Wagner Spital
OAR Dipl. KHBw Gustav Schäfer
Reinhard Bachmann
OA Dr. Karl Purzner


Univ. Prof Marina Fischer-Kowalski
Schottenfeldgasse 29
1070 Wien
Tel.: +43 (0) 1-522 4000-416
Fax: +43 (0) 1-522 4000-477