The rise of sustainable healthcare

In one recent blog. Once connected, these systems can be programmed to work together to provide improved workflow and multiple organizational goals, including business resilience, operational efficiency, and more. operate, secure, and improve the physician, patient, and guest experience.

Healthcare providers are also using smart hospitals, telehealth and virtual care to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions, helping them meet their environmental goals and sustainability.

Sustainable healthcare

At the recent United Nations Climate Change conference, COP26, a group of 50 countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Canada committed to developing low-carbon and climate-resilient health systems. These countries have signed on to the World Health Organization (WHO). Health Program COP26, to seek a future of healthcare that is resilient to the effects of climate change, extreme weather events and the incidence of diseases related to air pollution and heat. globally increased. These countries are committed to minimizing the impact of their health systems on CO2 emissions and climate change. The dual goals of a climate-resilient and low-carbon health system were underscored by an open letter from more than 450 healthcare providers representing more than 46 million healthcare workers around the world. The group warns the climate crisis is the biggest health threat facing humanity and calls on world leaders to act on climate.

Construction activities accounts for 70% of electricity consumption and about 30% of CO2 emissions. Construction and building materials accounts for another 11% of CO2 emissions.

As an industry, health care accounts for 4.4–4.6 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. The US healthcare system accounts for almost a quarter of these emissions, a figure 6% increase from 2010 to 2018. These emissions contribute to climate change and indirectly lead to reduced health outcomes.

Healthcare providers planning to construct new buildings or retrofit existing ones want their buildings to consume less energy and contribute to their carbon reduction goals. national, state and local.

Sustainability and decarbonization with smart hospitals

When systems and devices are connected and secured with a fourth utility, they can be powered by 90 W low-voltage Power over Ethernet (UPOE+), providing lower energy consumption and reduce CO2 emissions.

Converged smart building architectures can power multiple building systems and devices, including bedside medical equipment, LED lighting, motorized window blinds, HVAC, management systems, and more. building management, access systems, elevators and alarm systems. As a result, energy consumption can be reduced by up to 45% or more, directly leading to a reduction of 24 tons of CO2 (MTCO2e) emissions annually. Additional energy savings and up to 11 MTCO2e can be reduced through the reduction of materials used in building construction. In turn, this energy savings and sustainability can be used to earn LEED and WELL certifications as well as energy efficiency and stimulation grants.

Take LED lighting as an example: As discussed in the recent section smart hospital blog, LED lighting can deliver improved clinical experiences and outcomes for patients and doctors alike – using circadian lighting and programming capabilities. POE LED lighting also contributes significantly to reduced operating costs and CO2 emissions – 3-6% less energy waste and 8% lower total cost of ownership compared to AC LEDs (27% lower than AC fluorescent lamp).

A smart hospital can harness the fourth utility to reduce power consumption and sustainability, improve security and data-driven medical workflows.

Telehealth and virtual care: Bridging to improve access to care and sustainability

In 2020, the Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Canada’s largest mental health teaching hospital, increase virtual care delivery for mental health visits almost 750% in a month. This change allows for greater flexibility in appointment scheduling and follow-up, shorter waiting times, and greater accessibility by removing barriers to access, especially for patients in remote areas. rural and remote areas (including remote indigenous communities).

In addition to these benefits, telehealth has been shown to reduce the carbon footprint of fewer car journeys. ONE Recent research published in the Journal of Climate Change and Health found that carbon emissions from patient travel for primary care, intensive care, and mental health visits in Washington and Oregon fell by as much as 46 percent between 2019 and 2020, due to transition from face-to-face visits to virtual care. A survey of 14 research reports in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Spain, Portugal, and Sweden found that virtual care and remote consultations save carbon emissions from 0.70–372 kg CO2e for each consultation, largely due to reduced travel. These studies also show that telehealth can play a role in climate-related business resilience, by enabling advising patients to continue after extreme weather events.

As patients and clinicians embrace telehealth and virtual care, improved accessibility, flexibility, and convenience will come with significant reductions in energy and energy costs. carbon emissions.

As we work with healthcare providers and partners to help design and build smart hospitals, telehealth and virtual care, we see the potential enable them to accomplish many of the organization’s goals while improving energy efficiency, carbon reduction and sustainability. These results will help healthcare providers meet their emissions targets and contribute to the goals set forth in the COP26 Healthcare Agenda.

No matter what sustainability goals your healthcare organization is looking to achieve, Cisco can help build the bridge to get you there.

For more information on smart and sustainable hospitals, please visit the following resources:

This post was co-authored Sean Caragata and Ross Sweetzir.


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