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Open AccessArticle

Impact of a Telemedicine Program on the Reduction in the Emission of Atmospheric Pollutants and Journeys by Road

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Health Promotion in Rural Areas Research Group, Institut Català de la Salut, 08272 Sant Fruitós de Bages, Spain
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Unitat de Suport a la Recerca de la Catalunya Central, Fundació Institut Universitari per a la Recerca a l’Atenció Primària de Salut Jordi Gol i Gurina, 08007 Barcelona, Spain
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Faculty of Social Sciences, Universitat de Vic-Universitat Central de Catalunya, 08242 Manresa, Spain
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TIC Salut Social-Ministry of Health, 08005 Barcelona, Spain
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CRES&CEXS-Pompeu Fabra University, 08005 Barcelona, Spain
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Sant Joan de Déu Hospital, Catalan Ministry of Health, 08950 Barcelona, Spain
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Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(22), 4366; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224366
Received: 3 October 2019 / Revised: 27 October 2019 / Accepted: 6 November 2019 / Published: 8 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Media and Public Health: Opportunities and Challenges)
This retrospective study evaluates the effect of a telemedicine program developed in the central Catalan region in lowering the environmental footprint by reducing the emission of atmospheric pollutants, thanks to a reduction in the number of hospital visits involving journeys by road. Between January 2018 and June 2019, a total of 12,322 referrals were made to telemedicine services in the primary care centers, avoiding a total of 9034 face-to-face visits. In total, the distance saved was 192,682 km, with a total travel time saving of 3779 h and a total fuel reduction of 11,754 L with an associated cost of €15,664. This represents an average reduction of 3248.3 g of carbon dioxide, 4.05 g of carbon monoxide, 4.86 g of nitric oxide and 3.2 g of sulphur dioxide. This study confirms that telemedicine reduces the environmental impact of atmospheric pollutants emitted by vehicles by reducing the number of journeys made for face-to-face visits, and thus contributing to environmental sustainability. View Full-Text
Keywords: telemedicine; carbon dioxide; air pollutants; vehicle emissions; primary care telemedicine; carbon dioxide; air pollutants; vehicle emissions; primary care
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MDPI and ACS Style

Vidal-Alaball, J.; Franch-Parella, J.; Lopez Seguí, F.; Garcia Cuyàs, F.; Mendioroz Peña, J. Impact of a Telemedicine Program on the Reduction in the Emission of Atmospheric Pollutants and Journeys by Road. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 4366.

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