Value (Business Strategy and Financial Management)
V-09 - ACCESS to Better Health and Clear Skies
Monday, April 30
10:55 AM - 11:04 AM
Location: Innovation Zone, Booth 434
Background: Telemedicine has significate benefits to society beyond direct improvements to health and access to care. One of these many benefits if the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Transportation is the second largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions 27%, just below electricity production at 29%. Telemedicine greatly reduces the need for patients and physicians to travel to see each other. One area that telemedicine can greatly reduce greenhouse gases is in the reduction of emergent patient flight transfers. Greenhouse gases produced by aviation has a larger effect on climate change because of it being released higher up in the atmosphere. Telemedicine can reduce the number of unnecessary flights by giving rural patients access to a medical specialist that don't exist in smaller hospitals.
Methods: Twelve hospitals in New Mexico took part in the Accessibility to Critical Cerebral Emergency Support Services (ACCESS) program, which allows rural doctors to consult with stroke specialists to provide better care. One of the results of these consultations is a reduction in patient transfer rates. Fewer transfers mean less greenhouse gas emissions from emergent patient transfer flights. We calculated total carbon dioxide equivalent (CO_2 e) emissions using Environmental Protection Agency, Energy Information Administration, and locality-specific emission conversion factors. We also calculate what the potential reductions in emissions would look like if the program was expanded to cover all hospitals in New Mexico and similar areas across the U.S.
Results: Participation in ACCESS from May 2015 to July 2017 resulted in 2,020 consultations. Of these consultations, there was a 70% (1414) reduction in patient transfers. Emission reduction totaled 243,575 kg of CO_2 e (469.5 metric tons). Expanding the program across New Mexico and similar U.S. areas resulted in potential reductions of 3,235 (IQR 2,569 - 3999) and 110,016 (IQR 88,294 - 135,979) metric tons of CO_2 e.
Conclusion: Transport accounts for 26% of global CO_2 emissions and is one of the few industrial sectors where emissions are still growing. What makes this more impactful is that aviation's emissions are not part of the Kyoto Protocol and little is being done in this sector. Greenhouse gas reduction was not the main intention of the ACCESS program but it has shown to be a significant by-product.
- evaluate the current and potential reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from a Neuro-Emergent telemedicine consultation program.
- Identify potential reductions in Greenhouse gases for other Telemedicine programs.
- conduct comparison of the size of greenhouse gases reductions to other models and CO2 emissions.