E-health Croatia: Life cycle assessment of ICT enablement potential
ICT solutions can have significant transformative impacts on energy consumption and CO2 emissions, as seen in an e-health system provided by Ericsson in Croatia. The Croatian government wanted to offer to its citizens a more efficient health information system. A solution was developed with the goal of integrating healthcare processes, information management and business workflows.
Connecting 2400 primary healthcare teams in the 20 counties and the capital, Zagreb, the Healthcare Networking Information System provides electronic reporting and booking, updates patient records, and digitalizes prescriptions and referrals, so they can be sent to pharmacies, hospitals and laboratories without the need for printouts.
In this case study, the ICT system included the software and equipment required for the e-health system. The components of the system were PCs and data centers. The Business As Usual (BAU) system covered the existing healthcare system, including all associated activities and emissions. Changes to these emissions resulting from enabling effects identified the relevant BAU components.
The Figure 2 summarizes all potential effects that were identified.
Calculations to arrive at the figures in Figure 3 used a mix of secondary and modeled data. The following assumptions were used:
- The e-referral service can reduce patient visits (approximately 12 million per year) by 50%.
- On average, patients travel 10km + 10km per visit. Twenty-five percent of patients travel by car; the other 75% by public transport.
- The e-prescription service can reduce paper consumption by 50%
Secondary and other data was used to determine average paper production and Croatian electricity differences from globally reported figures. Croatian demographic data was used to guide assumptions. As the e-health delivery system runs on PCs rather than a dedicated e-health device, a decision was also made to allocate emissions from the entire solution infrastructure to e-referral and e-prescription.
Taken together, the e-referral and e-prescription services have the potential to reduce CO2e emissions by up to 15,000 tonnes per year while the two services only add 330 tonnes of CO2e/year from operation and manufacturing activities.
The potential reduction ratio over a 20-year period is up to 1:45, depending on whether infrastructure is included and, if so, to what extent.
Customer: E-health Croatia
- The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of the Republic of Croatia, Croatian Institute for Health Insurance and the Croatian National Institute of Public Health
- Travel substitution and dematerialization (substance elimination)