Curious about how Telehealth is Combatting Climate Change?
During this article, we will discover how telehealth affects aggregated travel mileage, travel time, travel cost, and greenhouse gas emission over the life of a telemedicine program. Replacing physical visits with telemedicine appointments resulted in a significant 40–70 times decrease in carbon emissions (Holmner et al., 2014).
In 2017, the transportation sector was the main producer of greenhouse gases in North America with a 29% share of greenhouse gas production in the country (Keshvardoost et al., 2020). In terms of transportation, the healthcare industry impacts the environment considerably due to the high number of required patient healthcare-related trips that are conducted every year. Furthermore, as our population blooms, more healthcare, and rehabilitation services will be required for which more patient and paramedic transportations will be necessary.
One of the ways to battle climate change is through telehealth as the technology increases patients’ access to healthcare services through information and communications technology, prevents unnecessary traveling and referrals. According to a study, asynchronous and synchronous telemedicine systems can reduce patients’ traveling by 43% and 70 % respectively (Keshvardoost et al., 2020).
The Whole System Demonstrator program is one of the largest trials of telehealth In the world. They showed that telehealth could potentially achieve an impressive 20% reduction in emergency hospital admissions; a 14% reduction in elective admissions; and a 14 percent reduction in bed days (PA Consulting, 2019). This is extremely important as the study proves that telehealth reduces the number of people using resources and traveling to hospitals.
How does Telehealth Impact Climate Change in Canada?
In another study, conducted in Canada, a wide range of healthcare services were provided in the form of teleconsultation and as a result, road trips were reduced by 757 234 km, and transport vehicle carbon dioxide emissions were reduced by 185 tons (Keshvardoost et al., 2020).
Telehealth reduces unnecessary patient hospital and clinic visits. Telehealth enables patients to have the freedom to monitor their health from home through daily vital signs and responses to virtual health appointments. This provides patients with better knowledge and an understanding of their health and helps empower them to manage their conditions more effectively and efficiently. Furthermore, even simple Telehealth solutions such as booking or check-in apps, help transition the healthcare industry to paperless.
Telehealth has the potential to enhance time efﬁciency, cost efﬁciency, and positive environmental impact, lending support for a long-term environmentally sustainable option to reduce the burden on families when receiving quality health care. To find out more about how your clinic can positively benefit climate change, contact us to find a solution that can solve your needs.
How telehealth can help the NHS meet its carbon reduction targets. (2019, January 1). PA Consulting. https://www.paconsulting.com/insights/how-telehealth-can-help-the-nhs-meet-its-carbon-reduction-targets/
Holmner, Å., Ebi, K. L., Lazuardi, L., & Nilsson, M. (2014). Carbon Footprint of Telemedicine Solutions – Unexplored Opportunity for Reducing Carbon Emissions in the Health Sector. PLoS ONE, 9(9), e105040. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0105040
Keshvardoost, S., Dehnavieh, R., & Bahaadinibeigy, K. (2020). Climate Change and Telemedicine: A Prospective View. International Journal of Health Policy and Management, 1. https://doi.org/10.15171/ijhpm.2020.08