Telehealth and Healthcare Innovation to Reduce Emissions and Waste

Leader: David Danesh and Jennifer Luca



Climate change is a leading threat to public health. The healthcare industry in the US contributes roughly 10% of our total carbon emissions. As healthcare professionals, it is our responsibility to explore and implement methods that could reduce negative effects of climate change inadvertently caused by the healthcare industry. The motivation for this ERG is to explore how small changes (procedural, material, mindset changes, etc.) could lead to large reduction impact. Furthermore, individuals living in urban areas are more greatly impacted by climate change (lower tree equity scores, higher air pollution, heat islands, etc.) but often contribute the least to climate change or have some of the greatest barriers to accessing care. Within healthcare, telehealth is emerging as a way to reach individuals who are barred by distance, resources, or other measures from reaching care. Telehealth visits may reduce the waste and emission reduction standpoint. We encourage anyone who has a desire to explore the relationship of healthcare with climate change and its impact on different populations to join us!


This ERG will meet monthly to discuss current topics of healthcare innovation, leading to the development of a focused project that aggregates the experiences and expertise of the members. The project's goal will aim to have an actionable plan with changes that healthcare can implement to reduce emissions and waste. We plan to publish our findings in the literature.

Initial thoughts on projects
  • Explore the emissions prevented and waste prevented by utilizing telehealth to replace or to supplemental clinical office visits
  • Explore the relationship between social justice, environmental justice, and health disparities with the lens of telehealth as a tool to address these barriers
  • Explore the amount of clinic waste on OSHA regulations and infection control measures
  • Explore the impact of operating room waste and emissions

For more information or to get involved, contact David Danesh.

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