To date, the carbon footprint left by the entire field of medicine is quite large, and one could argue that it is a necessary evil. For example, you wouldn’t want a syringe that goes into your bloodstream to be made of recycled materials, or bags filled with biohazardous liquids to be made of compostable plastics.
When it comes to the environment though, we strongly believe that there’s always room for improvement.
RateFast is well adapted for a telemedicine workflow. When RateFast is used in conjunction with telemedicine, the potential for saving time, money, and the environment increases in orders of magnitudes.
Going the Distance Isn’t Always Literal
Time and time again, we at RateFast have asked the question, “Would you rather drive 100 miles to a 20 minute doctor’s appointment, or make that same appointment from your telephone or tablet?”
The answer is usually pretty cut and dry for people. The use of telemedicine makes it so that people have the option not to drive.
A patient of a doctor using the RateFast software suite opted to use telemedicine as their means of meeting for follow up visits. The patient lived over 50 miles away from the doctor’s clinic, meaning a round trip of 100+ miles.
For this particular claim, there were 28 overall visits with the doctor. That means that the patient saved themselves from driving a total of, 2,640 miles for the duration of their claim. Simply by deciding not to commit to all the travel it would take for these visits, the patient saved $1452 in travel expense costs for the insurance carrier, whose responsibility it is to reimburse the clinic and the patient.
Clearing the Air
Using the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalency Calculator, we have determined that by not driving, the patient spared the air by saving 1.13 tons of CO2 (carbon dioxide) from being released.
Consider for a moment that 1 gallon of gasoline weighs 6.3 lbs. The engine produces 20 lbs of CO2 per each gallon of gasoline consumed. The volume of space consumed by 20 lbs of CO2 is around 165 cubic feet. Multiply that by 50 and you have 8,250 square feet of space occupied by carbon dioxide from this single car. That number is only one half of a single trip of the patient to the doctor.
Saving Time Saves Energy
Because telemedicine allowed for frequent check-ups with less hassle, the claim moved forward quickly. This claim was closed within 28 visits, or 458 days. Compare that to the average lifespan of a claim, which is 749 days. That’s 40% faster.
Many factors contribute to the length of a work comp claim, sometimes the least of those contributions is the amount of time that it takes the injury to heal. A claim can be held up when there is a disagreement between stakeholders, and can drag on, sometimes for years.
The doctor was able to avoid dispute by using RateFast to write accurate and complete reports, and calculate an impairment rating.
Imagine for a moment that the claim took the industry standard length of time, and the worker actually went back and forth to the doctor covering an additional 251 days of the claim. That’s an additional 9 months of doctor’s visits.
RateFast is capable of saving time and money for each and every stakeholder. In this case, telemedicine saved the distance while RateFast saved the lenght of the claim. As proven by this quick study, together they are capable of saving the environment as well, if only by a few tons of CO2 here and there.
Physicians interested in seeing how telemedicine can benefit their practice can refer to this FAQ.
Technology makes it possible to undo a number of the issues that we have created for the planet. By using it effectively, we can go leaps and bounds in the direction of restoring the damage that has been made by living in an industrial age. When we encourage the use of sustainable and ecologically sound living, we further promote technologies and lifestyles that go further towards cooperating with the planet.
Onward, towards a healthier future.