New chapter in healthcare environmental impact reduction through medical treatment choices: The case of diagnostic imaging services
Esmaeili, Mohammad Amin
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The relationship between hospital practices to deliver quality patient care and the impact on the environment (public health) are clearly evolving. Reducing the carbon footprint of the healthcare sector can be achieved by incorporating environmental impact information into hospitals' patient-centered decision support systems in order to provide more environmental friendly decisions with equivalent patient outcomes. The challenge for utilizing environmental impact methodology in the context of medical decisions is to educate and provide the health care community with information to allow them seek sustainability improvement. Today the patient care team is limited by the paucity of data regarding the relationship between their decisions and the environmental consequences of those decisions. Therefore, the first priority is the necessary research to determine preliminary profiles of medical-based decisions relative to the use of energy and materials associated with each process in the healthcare service delivery. Diagnostic imaging is an important area of patient care that has successfully reduced radiation impacts; however, still has an unseen public health impact due to the energy and consumables consumption profiles of imaging modalities. In this study, following the life cycle assessment (LCA) protocol, a detailed accounting of energy and materials consumed for major diagnostic imaging services, radiography, computes tomography (CT) scan and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is provided, and this information is compared with the fourth modality sonography service. The transparent, detailed life cycle approach allows data from this study to be used by radiologists to suggest new ways to improve hospital sustainability and energy reduction programs of their healthcare organizations, to explore the hidden public health impacts of diagnostic imaging, and to prioritize the environmental impact reduction strategies in their healthcare settings.
Thesis (Ph.D.)-- Wichita State University, College of Engineering, Dept. of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering