Telemedicine can make healthcare greener

Peter Mackinlay Yellowlees, Kathy Chorba, Michelle Burke Parish, Hannah Wynn-Jones, Najia Nafiz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

The American healthcare industry is generally lacking environmentally sustainable practices. The environmental impact of healthcare practices in the country has been largely disregarded due to ambivalence, ignorance, and fears of additional costs and regulations. The current practices continue to pollute the environment by requiring large amounts of travel and paperwork by both the patient and the clinician. Telemedicine and health information technology help save time, energy, raw materials (such as paper and plastic), and fuel, thereby lowering the carbon footprint of the health industry. By implementing green practices, for instance, by engaging in carbon credit programs, the health industry could benefit financially as well as reduce its negative impact on the health of our planet. Companies that reduce their carbon emissions by implementing energy-saving practices can sell their carbon credits to companies that emit more carbon than permissible by their legally binding commitment. These carbon profits can then be used for healthcare research or to provide healthcare to the underserved. Alternatively, the savings could be used for green purchasing and to implement other carbon-reducing activities. This report reviews the numerous possible options for the American health industry to become greener and lower its carbon footprint while at the same time becoming more time- and cost efficient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-232
Number of pages4
JournalTelemedicine and e-Health
Volume16
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2010

Keywords

  • Business administration/economics
  • E-health
  • Policy
  • Telehealth
  • Telemedicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management

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  • Cite this

    Yellowlees, P. M., Chorba, K., Burke Parish, M., Wynn-Jones, H., & Nafiz, N. (2010). Telemedicine can make healthcare greener. Telemedicine and e-Health, 16(2), 229-232. https://doi.org/10.1089/tmj.2009.0105