Innovation, Sustainability and The Future of Healthcare

Pursuing Sustainability for Healthcare through Digital Platforms

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DEVA is committed to making sure environmental and social sustainability is core to the design of our new healthcare technology. Without it, there's a real risk of negative impacts affecting the energy and material footprint of the healthcare system. We deliver value and flexibility to our customers while working to secure a healthier future for patients and the planet.

DEVA's overarching goal is to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and, in particular, universal health coverage (UHC) by investing in digital health. Health care systems in both developed and developing nations have begun to embrace the transformative power of information and communication technology, from electronic health records that integrate and organize medical data and enable providers to share it easily, to mobile technology that spurs better informed decisions by people and health workers in rural areas and hospitals.

Pursuing Sustainability for Healthcare through Digital Platforms

Digital health solutions and health information technology are systematically transforming the way health care is delivered in the 21st century. Telemedicine and digital diagnostics solutions enable patients to receive remote and fast diagnostics in a more convenient way, electronic health records enable users to manage their health data and innovative smartphone applications provide patients with effective treatment, prevention or disease management solutions for conditions ranging from diabetes to depression.

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

Goal 3

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Goal 5

Reduce inequality within and among countries.

Goal 10

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Goal 12

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

Goal 13

Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

Goal 17
Goal 13

Reducing CO2 emissions and paper consumption through EHRs and telemedicine

Electronic health records (EHRs) enable patients to not only store digital versions of their health records, but also to request them from and exchange them with health care providers. Digital copies of patients health records could therefore substitute the use of paper, and make the use of paper based health records obsolete.

Telemedicine solutions and symptom checkers have the potential to reduce the need for ambulatory visits, and if visits take place, a patient equipped with a complete electronic health record will enjoy more productive visits, with better outcomes being able to be achieved with fewer visits, and less unnecessary double treatments. Telemedicine and EHR can result in a reduction of in-person visits by up to 26%, and the rate of ambulatory care visits by 7-11%. Replacing physical visits by telemedicine can result in a 40-70% reduction of carbon emissions. The savings potential due to reduced trips for Kaiser Permanente is estimated to be equivalent to up to the carbon sequestered by up to 19.200 acres of fir or pine forest.

Goal 10

Reducing inequalities between countries though the use of medical AI

Millions of people in developing countries struggle to access basic health care, and the WHO estimates that by 2030, almost 13 million additional skilled health professionals are needed worldwide. In developing countries, the shortage of skilled doctors and the lack of medical knowledge is particularly pronounced. DHS, particularly those enabled by AI, hold the promise to transform health-care in resource poor settings, address the skills and knowledge gap and and thereby to reduce the inequality of health care systems between countries. Expert systems, e.g. symptom checkers can provide expert level competence to patients and medical staff in developing countries, thereby contributing to the democratisation of medical knowledge and information.

AI based solutions are particularly powerful if combined with Electronic Health Records (EHRs). EHRs hold the additional advantage that they can enable the implementation of applications relying on IT infrastructure in countries where such infrastructure does not yet exist. And when combined with natural language processing (NLP) capability, AI can be used to mine the EHR and the medical literature to provide expert treatment advice where no experts are present. This way, DHS offer the potential to “leap frog” health service technology in developing economies.

The Ribbon.Life and SDGs Goal 5

Empowerment of women and reducing child mortality.

Digital health apps for women are becoming increasingly popular, and often show very high engagement from their users. Solutions such as Eve, Clue or What to expect, even though still not perfect, have the potential to help women preventing pregnancies, preparing and planning for conceiving a child or ensuring a healthy pregnancy.

Due to the easy accessibility as smartphone apps, comparative affordability and ability to convey health information in a digestible format, these Femtech DHS have to potential to empower women with low incomes and women in developing economies, where health services are underdeveloped and healthcare is not affordable to everyone.

Goal 12

The digital nudge – behaviour change benefiting health and environment

We honor the trust our members place in us to safeguard their health data. We are committed to acting transparently and with integrity in using our members' data to deliver insights to our community.

“If designed well, the digitalization of healthcare can radically improve access and delivery of care, as well as enable much more efficient use of natural resources.”

Mahmoud Mansour

DEVA’s Approach to Digital and the Environment

At DEVA, we see the digitalization of care as an opportunity to accelerate sustainable development. According to a paper published by J.D Sachs and others, digitalization is one of six key transformations needed to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. DEVA has set ambitious sustainability targets linked to the UN SDGs. These include: ensuring sustainable use of materials and driving the transition to a circular economy; and ensuring sustainable use of energy, reducing emissions, and operating carbon-neutral.

At The Ribbon.Life as a purpose-driven health technology subsidiary of DEVA, we are very conscious of our responsibility towards society and of the need to continue to embed sustainability ever deeper in the way we do business – not only in our own operations, but across the value chain, together with our customers and supply partners.

Our strategy aims to capture the potential of digital to help us realize our sustainability ambitions. This strategy is built around four pillars:

  1. Enabling sustainable development with digital healthcare solutions.
  2. Empowering sustainable user behavior.
  3. Building sustainable healthcare software by design.
  4. Powered by sustainable technologies and infrastructure.

Join Us in our Endeavors

Digitalization offers tremendous scope to improve the delivery of care – benefiting patients, clinicians and administrators alike. It also has significant potential to reduce the environmental impact of healthcare. However, we can only harness that potential by purposely designing our digital systems to advance sustainable development, and by working together with others in our ecosystem – care providers, practitioners, knowledge partners, and suppliers.

Across industry, we need to team up with experts, e.g. from the world of software architecture, to ensure we make the right decisions and trade-offs for a sustainable future. Two key questions come to mind for these experts:

  1. What, in your view, are the most important areas where we need to design sustainable healthcare software and data models?
  2. Where do you see digitalization having the biggest potential impact on sustainable development, both socially and ecologically?

We are keen to build upon our own experiences and learn from others’ ideas and best practices. In that spirit, We invite you to join the discussion on how to best leverage digitalization to improve healthcare while at the same time accelerating the sustainable use of energy and materials.

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