Climate Change and HealthCoda EarthSustainable healthcareWhat is Sustainable Healthcare?

Coda Earth: Conversation 3

What is Sustainable Healthcare?

Healthcare accounts for 5-7% of global carbon emissions. Notably, this equates to approximately all or the emissions from either Japan or Russia.

A large part of those carbon emissions come from the manufacturing of medical devices and pharmaceuticals (‘Procurement’). This provides tremendous opportunities for us to drive how the medical technology industry designs and produces these goods. In turn, this will reduce carbon emissions.

We must take responsibility for the entire life-cycle of what we consume in the delivery of healthcare – this responsibility is termed ‘Product Stewardship’.

However, there is a general lack of Governance in sustainable healthcare delivery. Healthcare workers, hospital administrators and government themselves lack awareness of our shared responsibilities in this area.

Furthermore, as clinicians, the lowest carbon footprint clinical test is the omission of unnecessary tests. In many ways low-middle income countries lead the way here as they have never embraced the super-cycle of high turnover disposable waste.

As institutions like the Canadian Medical Association, the UK NHS and the Lancet Countdown commit to NetZero healthcare by 2050 we must demand the same from our medical device and pharmaceutical partners.

Evidently, our first premise has always been “First do no harm”.

Tune in to What is Sustainable Healthcare? Finally, for more head to our podcast page. #CodaPodcast 

Michelle Fox

Michelle Fox was named Corporate Vice President & Chief Medical Officer for Teleflex in February 2020. Michelle’s work has focused on organizational and systems development. This includes interactive medical education, as a means to making transformational change and supporting research that implements the best medical practices into bedside clinical care. She has lectured nationally and internationally on the impact of strong collaboration between Clinical and Medical Affairs and professional medical and nursing societies. She offers a rare blend of strong clinical practice and leadership, driven by her desire to improve patient outcomes, and tempered by a clear understanding of the challenges facing healthcare today. Michelle is passionate about advancing the cause of sustainable healthcare and corporate social responsibility in the medical device industry.

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