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Climate change and eHealth: a promising strategy for health sector mitigation and adaptation.

Holmner A, Rocklöv J, Ng N, Nilsson M - Glob Health Action (2012)

Bottom Line: The promising role of eHealth as an adaptation strategy to reduce societal vulnerability to climate change, and the link's between mitigation and adaptation, are also discussed.A growing number of local and global initiatives on 'green information and communication technology (ICT)' are now mentioning eHealth as a promising technology with the potential to reduce emission rates from ICT use.Further research on potential emissions reductions and co-benefits with green ICT, in terms of health outcomes and economic effectiveness, would be valuable to guide development and implementation of eHealth in health sector mitigation and adaptation policies.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Radiation Sciences/Biomedical Engineering, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden. asa.holmner-rocklov@vll.se

ABSTRACT
Climate change is one of today's most pressing global issues. Policies to guide mitigation and adaptation are needed to avoid the devastating impacts of climate change. The health sector is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in developed countries, and its climate impact in low-income countries is growing steadily. This paper reviews and discusses the literature regarding health sector mitigation potential, known and hypothetical co-benefits, and the potential of health information technology, such as eHealth, in climate change mitigation and adaptation. The promising role of eHealth as an adaptation strategy to reduce societal vulnerability to climate change, and the link's between mitigation and adaptation, are also discussed. The topic of environmental eHealth has gained little attention to date, despite its potential to contribute to more sustainable and green health care. A growing number of local and global initiatives on 'green information and communication technology (ICT)' are now mentioning eHealth as a promising technology with the potential to reduce emission rates from ICT use. However, the embracing of eHealth is slow because of limitations in technological infrastructure, capacity and political will. Further research on potential emissions reductions and co-benefits with green ICT, in terms of health outcomes and economic effectiveness, would be valuable to guide development and implementation of eHealth in health sector mitigation and adaptation policies.

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Schematic illustration of the potential net reduction in carbon emission with implementation of telemedicine services (shown in blue). The reduction potential is dependent on the number of visits as well as the carbon emission caused by each user's travel and visit in a traditional care scenario (shown in green). The climate impact from travel depends heavily on the type of transportation (e.g. public transportation, car, or aeroplane) but for simplicity is illustrated as travel distance only. This simplified model does not take into account that each piece of equipment can only serve a limited number of users and visits.
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Figure 0001: Schematic illustration of the potential net reduction in carbon emission with implementation of telemedicine services (shown in blue). The reduction potential is dependent on the number of visits as well as the carbon emission caused by each user's travel and visit in a traditional care scenario (shown in green). The climate impact from travel depends heavily on the type of transportation (e.g. public transportation, car, or aeroplane) but for simplicity is illustrated as travel distance only. This simplified model does not take into account that each piece of equipment can only serve a limited number of users and visits.

Mentions: The local carbon reduction potential will depend on a number of factors. First, potential carbon savings are strongly related to the number of users and appointments that can be replaced by virtual visits. Second, the benefits will depend on the distance and type of transportation replaced by technology, that is whether the patient or medical professional typically travels by car, public transportation, or airplane, and the actual distances involved. Based on these factors, it should be possible to determine potential balance points where the introduction of eHealth results in a net reduction in CO2 (Fig. 1).


Climate change and eHealth: a promising strategy for health sector mitigation and adaptation.

Holmner A, Rocklöv J, Ng N, Nilsson M - Glob Health Action (2012)

Schematic illustration of the potential net reduction in carbon emission with implementation of telemedicine services (shown in blue). The reduction potential is dependent on the number of visits as well as the carbon emission caused by each user's travel and visit in a traditional care scenario (shown in green). The climate impact from travel depends heavily on the type of transportation (e.g. public transportation, car, or aeroplane) but for simplicity is illustrated as travel distance only. This simplified model does not take into account that each piece of equipment can only serve a limited number of users and visits.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3369672&req=5

Figure 0001: Schematic illustration of the potential net reduction in carbon emission with implementation of telemedicine services (shown in blue). The reduction potential is dependent on the number of visits as well as the carbon emission caused by each user's travel and visit in a traditional care scenario (shown in green). The climate impact from travel depends heavily on the type of transportation (e.g. public transportation, car, or aeroplane) but for simplicity is illustrated as travel distance only. This simplified model does not take into account that each piece of equipment can only serve a limited number of users and visits.
Mentions: The local carbon reduction potential will depend on a number of factors. First, potential carbon savings are strongly related to the number of users and appointments that can be replaced by virtual visits. Second, the benefits will depend on the distance and type of transportation replaced by technology, that is whether the patient or medical professional typically travels by car, public transportation, or airplane, and the actual distances involved. Based on these factors, it should be possible to determine potential balance points where the introduction of eHealth results in a net reduction in CO2 (Fig. 1).

Bottom Line: The promising role of eHealth as an adaptation strategy to reduce societal vulnerability to climate change, and the link's between mitigation and adaptation, are also discussed.A growing number of local and global initiatives on 'green information and communication technology (ICT)' are now mentioning eHealth as a promising technology with the potential to reduce emission rates from ICT use.Further research on potential emissions reductions and co-benefits with green ICT, in terms of health outcomes and economic effectiveness, would be valuable to guide development and implementation of eHealth in health sector mitigation and adaptation policies.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Radiation Sciences/Biomedical Engineering, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden. asa.holmner-rocklov@vll.se

ABSTRACT
Climate change is one of today's most pressing global issues. Policies to guide mitigation and adaptation are needed to avoid the devastating impacts of climate change. The health sector is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in developed countries, and its climate impact in low-income countries is growing steadily. This paper reviews and discusses the literature regarding health sector mitigation potential, known and hypothetical co-benefits, and the potential of health information technology, such as eHealth, in climate change mitigation and adaptation. The promising role of eHealth as an adaptation strategy to reduce societal vulnerability to climate change, and the link's between mitigation and adaptation, are also discussed. The topic of environmental eHealth has gained little attention to date, despite its potential to contribute to more sustainable and green health care. A growing number of local and global initiatives on 'green information and communication technology (ICT)' are now mentioning eHealth as a promising technology with the potential to reduce emission rates from ICT use. However, the embracing of eHealth is slow because of limitations in technological infrastructure, capacity and political will. Further research on potential emissions reductions and co-benefits with green ICT, in terms of health outcomes and economic effectiveness, would be valuable to guide development and implementation of eHealth in health sector mitigation and adaptation policies.

Show MeSH