By Sam L. Bowman
Our modern healthcare system constantly evolves through the discovery of new treatments and medical solutions. But at what cost?
It’s often easy to be impressed by new breakthroughs in medical technology and methodology, but it’s worth taking the time to consider how far we’ve come, what we may have compromised in order to reach it, and ultimately, where we’re headed.
When we fully understand the efficiency of traditional methods of generating energy, we can recognize that there are destructive patterns that can wreak havoc on the environment, but we justify those “short-term” setbacks in the name of medical progress.
Now, we’re embracing new, cleaner technology that will allow us to keep the advancement at full steam while damaging the environment less severely, or ideally, not at all.
Let’s explore some of the keynote aspects of the energy consumption patterns and technology adoption that our contemporary health systems are embracing to maintain the forward development of medical practices and the preservation of our planet.
Remote technology allowing doctors to access, diagnose, treat, and communicate with patients has transformed the medical industry, and it’s been accelerated with the advent of the pandemic.
Distance healthcare is growing in popularity, especially because it allows individuals who have difficulty with mobility or travel to receive the same care they would get in an office, but with the added convenience of staying in their own home. It can offer relief for many who find anxiety and discomfort in commuting. Additionally, creating less need for physical appointments, it’s reducing the amount of fuel emissions that drivers create when they visit their doctor.
Remote technology is also allowing for faster results, delivering them quickly to a patient’s device with the use of an account on a mobile app.
Environmental Impact and Solutions
As we briefly pointed out above, the medical industry has historically been a substantial negative source of environmental impact. The Lancet reported that between 4-5% of global greenhouse gas emissions were contributed by the healthcare sector in the past fifty years.
Thankfully, there are increasingly more available alternatives to traditional fuels that drive the medical sector.
As we mentioned, telemedicine has helped reduce the carbon footprint that most health services produce, but other methods have entered the scene as well. Solar technology is shaping the future and is being adopted by more and more businesses in an effort to reduce their own footprint — it’s becoming a more popular solution for medical practices. It’s part of the major shift that the healthcare vertical is determined to implement.
In addition, solid medical waste used to be deposited into oceans, which remained a troubling reality for a long time. U.S. states are each individually addressing the regulations and boundaries surrounding how to deal with medical waste. More often now, special steps are being imposed within each state to sanitize medical waste before sending it to a dedicated sanitary landfill.
How the Pandemic Stimulated Healthcare Tech Advancement
The global pandemic of 2020 was unwelcome and unwanted, but it did bring certain benefits along with it.
During World War II, the world experienced a surge of quickened technological advancement due to the need to outperform the opposition. We called this the arms race, and a similar outcome came about from the pandemic.
The healthcare system had to make rapid adjustments to accommodate limitations brought upon us by the pandemic, and after the dust has begun to settle, we’re able to critique those measures put into place and realize what we improved.
Remote patient monitoring became immensely more utilized, and treatment and attention became more accessible by remote communication than ever before.
Anticipating the Future
The medical race we’ve always run has been dictated by cause and effect. A new breed of disease or illness appears, and we react to it. Our efforts to curb illnesses, diseases and cancers have been largely reactionary. And within our own efforts to correct and hopefully eradicate these ailments, we damage the earth we live in, potentially creating brand new mutations and brand new diseases. It’s a destructive cycle that needs to break if we are to achieve clean and finite medical solutions.
That’s the goal, after all. If we can achieve medical affluence without compromising the planet, the rate at which new diseases appear will ideally slow down, and we will be better off. If the planet becomes less of a source of new harm to us, then it can become a net gain.
Putting It All Together
More and more businesses are realizing a decay in traditional medical infrastructure.
We’re at a crossroads where we accept a plateau period of development and progress to adapt our current medical systems to a more sustainable and green format. Once we resume our expected levels of efficiency with clean methods, we can begin proceeding forward again.