Carbon Emission Reduction in Oncology Specialty Clinics

The largest proportions of health care–related GHG emissions come from hospitals, physician services, and prescription medications.

These areas are central to cancer care and suggest that environmental improvements in oncology care may meaningfully affect overall health care emissions. Oncology care also exists at the intersection of medical, surgical, and radiation therapeutics. Given the heavy reliance of cancer care on surgeries, radiology services, and pharmaceuticals, cancer care may be responsible for an outsized contribution to health care’s overall carbon footprint. Therefore, the creation of an environmentally sustainable cancer care model would serve as an archetype for virtually any other medical specialty.

The path toward environmentally sustainable and resilient cancer care would begin by evaluating current practices. This involves using an established approach to determine GHG emissions across oncology processes and settings, evaluating the climate-related understanding and experiences of oncology patients and clinicians, and assessing the climate effects of oncologic health care policy. This comprehensive method would establish a baseline for improvement, highlight at-risk areas, and create short- and long-term goals for minimizing oncology’s contribution to climate change.

Zasti is working with partner oncology clinics and has developed the ATOM framework for accounting carbon emissions and this framework is deployed at the selected facilities to:

  • Baseline emissions for Cancer care practices and calculate carbon intensity
  • Develop recommendations on industry benchmarks to be adopted
  • Identify specific “hotspot” opportunities to reduce waste, save costs and cut down on carbon emissions

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