Statement from the International Academy for Health Sciences Informatics (IAHSI), the Academy of the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA) to all Health Informaticians worldwide
The effects of climate change on human health are already being felt, and the potential for more severe and widespread impacts is becoming more likely. The healthcare delivery system is responsible for the generation of a significant amount of electronic and biological waste, much of it in forms that are not rapidly or safely biodegradable.
We are committed to doing our share to both mitigate and adapt to climate change and applaud the efforts already being made by many. Currently, the healthcare industry is estimated to account for between 5-9% of all greenhouse gas emissions. We believe the knowledge, tools, and techniques developed by health informaticians over the past 60 years, coupled with the recent advances and widespread adoption of digital health solutions offer considerable promise in helping to address these challenges.
To reduce these greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the amount of electronic and medical waste, we recommend that health informaticians work on the following high-priority topics:
- Mitigate the effects of climate change on the healthcare system and human health,
- Reduce the impact of health information technology on the environment,
- Use health information technology to reduce the impact of healthcare service delivery on the environment,
- Educate the next generation of health informaticians about climate change and what they can do to help reduce its impact on human health, and
- Advocate for environmental-friendly health information technology and healthcare service delivery processes, tools, and techniques.
Taken together and with a concerted effort on the part of all health informaticians, these actions will have a significant impact on our environment through reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and environmental waste.
We call on health informaticians to begin working with their clinical, administrative, technical, and legislative colleagues to address these issues before the health of the human race is irrevocably harmed.
The International Academy of Health Sciences Informatics (IAHSI) is the Academy of IMIA, the International Medical Informatics Association. The Academy’s goal, through engagement with its Fellows, is to promote the dissemination of knowledge and best practices, foster new ideas, and encourage worldwide collaboration and sharing of expertise and resources.
As the international association for health and biomedical informatics an “association of associations” IMIA provides the global opportunity to collaborate on the advancement of biomedical and health informatics science, education, and practice through mutual learning and exchange of knowledge, skills and ideas. Through the ongoing work of IMIA’s worldwide Members, Official Regions, Working Groups, Special Interest Groups, IMIA NI and Academy (IAHSI), IMIA provides informatics leadership and expertise to the multidisciplinary health-focused community and policy makers.
For more information, please contact Elaine Huesing, IMIA CEO, firstname.lastname@example.org
Acknowledgement of Authors of the statement, with many thanks:
Dean F. Sittig, Farah Magrabi, Hardeep Singh
Acknowledgement of References:
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