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Telemedicine is poised to fight climate change after saving lives during COVID-19

April 27, 2021

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, telemedicine has grown exponentially as a form of patient care, monitoring, education, and more. Indeed, telemedicine has saved countless lives over the past year, while at the same time allowing patients (and sometimes caregivers) to remain within the comfort of their own homes. The broad and ongoing acceptance of telemedicine as an effective form of patient care is now pointing at its potential in combating climate change. In fact, it turns out that the healthcare industry is responsible for 4.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Patients and doctors need to travel to the clinic, on top of the need to transport medicine. At the Umea University Hospital in Sweden, researchers found that virtual appointments led to a 40 to 70 times decrease in greenhouse gas emissions as compared to in-patient visits. Telemedicine may thus offset much of healthcare emissions as it gets more deeply entrenched within the system. 


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