Today’s growing concerns about climate change throw light on the environmental impact of several industries, not least of which is healthcare. Far from being exempt from the call for more sustainable practices, hospitals need innovative solutions for reducing their carbon footprint, which currently constitutes a significant percentage of global emissions. Mobile X-ray technology emerges as an attractive solution, marrying the demand for high-quality healthcare with eco-friendly solutions. This article explores the role of Mobile X-ray technology in reducing hospital carbon footprints and other benefits it offers in light of this critical task.
Before we jump into mobile digital X-ray technology’s positive effect on climate initiatives, let’s take a look at why hospital carbon footprints are such an area of concern:
The healthcare industry has a massive carbon footprint. Hospitals and other medical facilities account for a small part of that footprint. However, they still have significant room for improvement regarding reducing emissions and adopting eco-friendly solutions. Experts estimate that the healthcare sector accounts for about 10% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Hospitals make up about 36% of those emissions, the rest from other care facilities and supply chain activities.
The primary sources of hospital emissions come from energy consumption, transportation, and waste. Hospitals tend to be open 24/7 and have high energy demands from heating, cooling, lighting, medical equipment, and more. They also generate a lot of waste from single-use medical supplies and food services.
A hospital’s carbon footprint refers to the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted due to its operations. This includes direct emissions from on-site energy usage and indirect emissions from electricity generation, supply chain activities, transportation, and waste disposal.
The concept of a carbon footprint can help hospitals measure and understand their impact on the environment. It also enables them to identify opportunities to reduce emissions through energy efficiency, renewable energy, waste minimization, and other climate-friendly practices.
Medical imaging techniques like X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs are invaluable diagnostic tools, but they have traditionally had major environmental drawbacks. Compared to mobile equipment, legacy imaging devices are energy-intensive, use toxic chemicals for film development, and generate medical waste from single-use components.
For example, an MRI scanner can consume over 3000 kWh per patient exam. Traditional X-ray film processing uses gallons of chemicals like developer and fixer solutions. And while digital radiography has helped reduce waste, single-use components like cassettes still accumulate.
There are significant opportunities to improve the eco-profile of medical imaging through digital imaging technologies and best practices. This is where healthcare administrators and medical technology innovators are teaming up to make progress.
Setting carbon neutrality goals is one of the many great reasons to integrate portable imaging technology into your practice. This article explores some of the other reasons why you should consider mobile solutions.
Now that you have a better understanding of how the medical industry impacts carbon emissions, we can shift focus on mobile imaging’s role in lowering hospital carbon footprints:
Mobile X-ray systems offer a more sustainable imaging solution compared to fixed room-based units. Because the X-ray generators are built into maneuverable carts, they avoid the need for constructed radiographic suites.
This means less energy is used for construction and cooling multiple imaging rooms. It also allows hospitals to cut down on space needs. Transportable digital X-rays also enable greater equipment utilization rates since the units can be easily moved throughout a hospital.
Using digital detectors rather than film, mobile X-ray systems eliminate the need for chemical processing solutions like developers and fixers. This removes the associated hazards and waste disposal requirements.
In addition, digital imaging reduces retakes compared to film, reducing chemical usage and radiation exposure.
Mobile digital x-ray units allow hospitals to eliminate film processing facilities, including dark rooms, film storage, and processing equipment. This saves significant energy, water, and physical space.
Once again, going filmless also reduces medical waste generation compared to traditional film-based X-rays. Hospitals no longer have to dispose of used film and cassettes containing lead lining.
Technological advances like collimation and pulse wave shaping allow modern mobile X-ray equipment to operate at lower radiation doses than older stationary units. This reduces patients’ exposure to ionizing radiation, which improves human health. It also allows medical staff to image more safely.
The healthcare industry has a massive carbon footprint. The healthcare system in the United States alone accounts for nearly 10% of greenhouse gas emissions. Mobile X-ray units offer a unique opportunity as providers look for ways to reduce their environmental impact and become better stewards of community health.
While the carbon reduction is significant, mobile X-ray units provide so much more. Their convenience, efficiency, and versatility make them a win-win for patients, providers, and the planet.
One of the most significant advantages of mobile X-rays is the ability to bring medical imaging to the patient. Instead of requiring patients to travel to an outpatient clinic or hospital for an x-ray, the technology comes directly to them. This is especially impactful when providing care to pediatric and nursing home patients or those in remote areas.
This avoids unnecessary patient transport, which reduces associated emissions from vehicles. It also eliminates the need to schedule visits around the X-ray department’s operating hours. Exams can happen at the most convenient time for the patient, even if that means seeing them at home in the evening or on weekends.
Mobile X-ray units are designed specifically for portability and fast room turnover. The surfaces are made of antimicrobial materials that are quick and easy to disinfect between patients.
Their configurations also take up less space than traditional X-ray equipment. Technologists can maneuver them smoothly throughout a facility and position the tube head securely for imaging exams in tight spaces or awkward angles.
This ergonomic design helps technicians get quality diagnostic images regardless of the environment. It also reduces the risk of repetitive strain injuries when moving bulky equipment from room to room.
Solutions for tomorrow’s innovative !M1, Premium !M1, and !M1x have been providing true X-ray mobility since 2016. Powered by the one-of-a-kind, quick-charging X-tech cell® battery we developed to provide over nine hours of uninterrupted service time, our mobile imaging solutions have revolutionized the way providers can serve patients. Contact us today to schedule your in-person demonstration to see firsthand the impact our equipment can have on your medical center operations and your hospital’s carbon footprint.