Kaiser, CommonSpirit cut 7K+ metric tons of carbon with telehealth: Report

Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente and Chicago-based CommonSpirit are cutting their carbon footprint by thousands of metric tons per year through increased adoption of telehealth and virtual care, The Wall Street Journal reported Aug. 2.

Telehealth has cut Kaiser's carbon output by about 7,500 metric tons per year in its Northwest region and CommonSpirit's by 7,662 metric tons per year. Kaiser admits 800,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, mostly from keeping its facilities running. 

Globally, the healthcare industry emits 5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

"[Virtual care] has now created an expectation of our [patients] that they will have access, responses, information, and care virtually, that a lot of people didn't expect before," said Colin Cave, MD and medical director, external affairs, government relations and community health at Northwest Permanente Medical Group. "We understand that climate is health, so it became apparent that there could also be an advantage with regards to the environment."

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