Since the pandemic, telehealth has become an important tool for care delivery and it could reduce carbon emissions, according to a recent study in JAMA Oncology.

Between 2019 and 2022, telehealth visits increased by 1019.3% (about ten-fold). But in-person visits increased 2.2% each month, growing to 79.9% of pre-pandemic levels. Overall, mental health utilization was 38.8% higher than before the pandemic. Telehealth can help create efficiencies.

"In this cohort study including 123 890 patients seen over 1.6 million visit days, compared with an in-person–preferred care model, a telemedicine preferred–care model reduced per–visit day emissions by 81.3%," the report said. "In a national counterfactual model comparing usual vs decentralized care (telemedicine as well as local site care when possible), there was a 33.1% reduction in emissions, which corresponded to an annual emissions reduction of 75.3 million kilograms of CO2 equivalents, or 15.0 to 47.7 disability-adjusted life-years."

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