In May, I attended the CleanMed conference in Nashville where professionals from across the industry including clinicians, architects, hospital administrators, policy consultants, sustainability officers, hospital vendors and a very nice veterinary specialist discussed sustainability in their healthcare institutions. For three days, we listened to stories of lessons learned, best practices and innovative case studies on workplace greening, and the communities they served. For some attendees, the passion and drive to be an advocate for the environment was a life-long pursuit, but others adopted sustainable practices because they became concerned about what kind of world they were leaving their kids or felt an obligation to improve the waste practices of their hospitals and facilities. The conference provided an intersection of different healthcare sectors trying to accomplish the same goal: learn ways their facilities can become more sustainable.
Hospitals are on the front lines of the effects of climate change. A vivid example is the healthcare providers in California who fought wildfires on their doorstep while caring for and transporting patients to safety. The conference provided an intersection of different healthcare sectors trying to accomplish the same goal. To improve health outcomes for their patients, their employees and communities, healthcare providers and hospitals must make strides in sustainability without impacting their bottom lines.
Health IT has a role in addressing climate change:
- Green IT practices: Reducing energy waste, offsetting the remaining carbon footprint of your web use and Internet presence, and switching to solar-powered hosting are ways to incorporate sustainability into your infrastructure.
- Telemedicine: Using IT to allow patients to reduce travel and time to get care makes healthcare more accessible and opens new possibilities of data sharing with patients and multiple healthcare providers.
- Resilience strategies: Anticipating climate change effects, such as power outages, floods and fires, and loss of Internet and database services that could affect services at healthcare facilities, is a vital step in mitigating operational harm.
- Choice Architecture: Encouraging end users to choose the sustainable options baked into design is a way to prioritize greener practices.
From CleanMed, I learned that people, businesses, and organizations can save money and decrease the threats from climate change in their communities by going green. Lantana is dedicated to making health IT solutions interoperable, meaningful, and responsive to saving money and creating environmentally sustainable solutions. If you’re interested in the impact health IT can have on climate change, get in touch with us.