Telehealth virtual visits can be a tool to fight climate change

During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth has been shown to be a safe and effective way to deliver care. There is now also data showing that it’s good for the health of the planet.

One large health system linked its 2020 growth in telehealth virtual visits to a reduction in the emissions of greenhouse gasses (GHG) equal to the emissions created annually by 1,200 homes.

Researchers with Northwest Permanente (NWP), a member of the AMA Health System Program, calculated telehealth’s impact on reducing patients’ vehicle traffic and the corresponding reduction in GHG emissions to 10.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide or equivalent GHG emissions (CO2-eq) in 2020 from 19.6 tonnes CO2-eq in 2019.

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