According to a December 2020 article in Health Affairs, the healthcare industry is among the most carbon-intensive service sectors in the industrialized world. The US healthcare system is responsible for about a quarter of all global healthcare greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than the health care system of any other nation. Health damages stemming from US health care pollution in 2013 (the most recent study) were on the same order of magnitude as deaths from preventable medical errors. These indirect health damages are largely unrecognized, leading to calls for expansion of the definition of patient safety to include safeguarding public health from health care pollution.
In 2021, local health systems leverage Better Health's data-informed collaborative model to work collectively to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and improve related health outcomes. We look forward to reporting progress with this important climate change health system initiative underway in Northeast Ohio.