Carbon footprint is a term that has come up more frequently in recent years, and for good reason. Carbon dioxide emissions are the leading cause of climate change, and global warming affects all of us in some way or another. For a responsible enterprise in the healthcare industry, it's important to take measures to reduce your carbon footprint as much as possible.
What is a carbon footprint?
Carbon footprint is a term that refers to the total amount of greenhouse gases emitted by an individual, organization, or nation. Greenhouse gases are those which absorb heat from the sun in order to maintain equilibrium on the earth's surface, and they are created when we burn fossil fuels like coal and oil. The burning of these fuels releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which contributes significantly to climate change.
How do hospitals contribute to carbon footprint?
A hospital's carbon footprint refers to how much greenhouse gas emissions are produced as a result of the different activities undertaken at the facility.
Hospitals can have a significant impact on this issue because many factors contribute to their carbon footprint including heating systems, generators for backup power sources, patient care equipment (i.e., x-rays), sterilization procedures for surgical instruments, and more.
This article will discuss ways that hospitals can reduce their carbon footprint through the use of hospital management software and electronic medical records.
Efficient energy use
Hospital management software can help reduce a hospital's carbon footprint by enabling more efficient energy use, better inventory control, and less waste as well as improving efficiency in the laundry area - all of which add up to significant savings for hospitals over time.
With the use of cloud-based solutions, there is a massive reduction in the need for on-premises server rooms and air-conditioning.
Reduction in the use of paper
Though paper is a recyclable material while comparing to the carbon dioxide emission during the various stages from production to disposal it is much better to reduce the use of paper for a sustainable environment.
Hospitals are required to keep large quantities of data maintained in paper form, data from different departments contain important information which is required to be saved and stored for a longer period of time. Hospital management software helps to convert many of the paper-based documentation into electronic documents.
For example, in the front office for registration and consent, forms are recorded and saved for future references. The billing section maintains invoices or receipt prints which are later on required for insurance reimbursements and claims. Discharge Summaries, Diagnostics Reports, etc are also maintained in paper form which can be easily maintained and stored in electronic format in Hospital management software.
Use of Electronic medical records
Electronic medical records also have an impact on reducing hospital's carbon footprints because they reduce the use of paper which in turn reduces the carbon dioxide and sulfur oxide emissions from paper production. In addition, they also help hospitals reduce their solid waste output.
The use of Electronic medical records also allows digital printing of x-rays which reduces the need for x-rays to be developed chemically in a dark room and therefore reduces power consumption.
Electronic medical administration records (E-MAR), purchase order requisitions and inventory requests, management approval for workflows all can be collected digitally drastically reducing the use of paper.
Tele-consultations and communication
Tele-consultations reduce the need for frequent visits to hospitals which reduces the burning of fuel to reach the hospital. All communications to the patient can be made using electronic means like SMS, e-mail notifications, online payment facility, which negate the requirement for the patient or patient’s relative to make a physical visit to the clinic or hospital to retrieve a clinical document, diagnostic report, book appointments or make a payment. etc.
Secure Remote access to online data for the staff
This also helps to reduce the unwanted movement of staff to and fro for discussions and changes that can be made online. This again reduces the number of vehicles on the road and the burning of fuel.
Besides this, there are many ways to make your building more sustainable without breaking the bank - adding solar panels or installing LED lights are two great options.
More and more hospitals are implementing sustainability initiatives every day because they know that being environmentally responsible benefits them as well as future generations of patients who will come through their doors looking for care when they need it most.
This doesn't just apply to healthcare providers but everyone should do what they can to help our planet stay healthy so we have a world worth living in for years to come.
Insta by Practo helps you do a little bit to help the environment with our hospital management software. It is important to remember that not every hospital can be 100% sustainable - but we're making small steps in the right direction.