Research Article
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Published Online: 23 November 2010

The Impact of Telemedicine on Greenhouse Gas Emissions at an Academic Health Science Center in Canada

Publication: Telemedicine and e-Health
Volume 16, Issue Number 9

Abstract

Objective: This study estimates the reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions resulting from 840 telemedicine consultations completed in a 6-month time period. Our model considers GHG emissions for both vehicle and videoconferencing unit energy use. Cost avoidance factors are also discussed. Materials and Methods: Travel distances in kilometers were calculated for each appointment using postal code data and Google Maps™ Web–based map calculator tools. Results: Including return travel, an estimated 757,234 km were avoided, resulting in a GHG emissions savings of 185,159 kg (185 metric tons) of carbon dioxide equivalents in vehicle emissions. Approximately 360,444 g of other air pollutant emissions was also avoided. The GHG emissions produced by energy consumption for videoconference units were estimated to be 42 kg of carbon dioxide equivalents emitted for this sample. Conclusions: The overall GHG emissions associated with videoconferencing unit energy is minor when compared with those avoided from vehicle use. In addition to improved patient-centered care and cost savings, environmental benefits provide additional incentives for the adoption of telemedicine services.

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Information & Authors

Information

Published In

cover image Telemedicine and e-Health
Telemedicine and e-Health
Volume 16Issue Number 9November 2010
Pages: 973 - 976
PubMed: 20958198

History

Published online: 23 November 2010
Published in print: November 2010
Published ahead of print: 19 October 2010
Accepted: 11 June 2010
Revision received: 10 June 2010
Received: 20 April 2010

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Authors

Affiliations

Caterina Masino
Telehealth Program, Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Ed Rubinstein
Department of Energy and Environment, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Leon Lem
Telehealth Program, Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Brendan Purdy
Telehealth Program, Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Peter G. Rossos
Telehealth Program, Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Notes

Address correspondence to:Caterina Masino, M.A.Telehealth ProgramCentre for Global eHealth InnovationUniversity Health Network190 Elizabeth St., RFE 4S400Toronto, Ontario M5G 2C4Canada
E-mail: [email protected]

Disclosure Statement

No competing financial interests exist.

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