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Telehealth Cuts Healthcare's Carbon Footprint, Patient's Costs During Pandemic

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A convalescent patient using a telehealth application.

Said Sristi Sharma, a University of California, Davis preventive medicine physician, “Our study documented the many benefits of utilizing telehealth for ambulatory visits."

Credit: UC Davis Health

Researchers at University of California, Davis Health (UC Davis Health) found that using telehealth for ambulatory visits lowered patients' costs and carbon footprint and saved time and lives during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study included data from five University of California health care systems from January 2020 to December 2021.

The researchers determined that during the study period, telehealth visits enabled patients to avoid traveling 53.7 million miles, saved $33,540,244 in travel-related costs, and avoided and 42.4 injuries and 0.7 fatalities.

The average patient avoided traveling 17.6 miles and saved $11 per trip.

Additionally, the carbon dioxide savings due to fewer vehicle trips amounted to nearly 21,466 metric tons.

UC Davis' James Marcin said, "Even if only 25% of ambulatory visits were conducted via telehealth, there would still be substantial cost savings and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions."

From UC Davis Health
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