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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Nov 8;16(22). pii: E4366. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16224366.

Impact of a Telemedicine Program on the Reduction in the Emission of Atmospheric Pollutants and Journeys by Road.

Author information

1
Health Promotion in Rural Areas Research Group, Institut Català de la Salut, 08272 Sant Fruitós de Bages, Spain.
2
Unitat de Suport a la Recerca de la Catalunya Central, Fundació Institut Universitari per a la Recerca a l'Atenció Primària de Salut Jordi Gol i Gurina, 08007 Barcelona, Spain.
3
Faculty of Social Sciences, Universitat de Vic-Universitat Central de Catalunya, 08242 Manresa, Spain.
4
TIC Salut Social-Ministry of Health, 08005 Barcelona, Spain.
5
CRES&CEXS-Pompeu Fabra University, 08005 Barcelona, Spain.
6
Sant Joan de Déu Hospital, Catalan Ministry of Health, 08950 Barcelona, Spain.

Abstract

This retrospective study evaluates the effect of a telemedicine program developed in the central Catalan region in lowering the environmental footprint by reducing the emission of atmospheric pollutants, thanks to a reduction in the number of hospital visits involving journeys by road. Between January 2018 and June 2019, a total of 12,322 referrals were made to telemedicine services in the primary care centers, avoiding a total of 9034 face-to-face visits. In total, the distance saved was 192,682 km, with a total travel time saving of 3779 h and a total fuel reduction of 11,754 L with an associated cost of €15,664. This represents an average reduction of 3248.3 g of carbon dioxide, 4.05 g of carbon monoxide, 4.86 g of nitric oxide and 3.2 g of sulphur dioxide. This study confirms that telemedicine reduces the environmental impact of atmospheric pollutants emitted by vehicles by reducing the number of journeys made for face-to-face visits, and thus contributing to environmental sustainability.

KEYWORDS:

air pollutants; carbon dioxide; primary care; telemedicine; vehicle emissions

PMID:
31717386
DOI:
10.3390/ijerph16224366
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