Digitalisation is a key priority for the NHS (and other health services worldwide), and has been cited as a way for the health sector to cut carbon emissions, while simultaneously achieving core objectives such as reducing costs and improving patient experience. For example, it is claimed that ‘telehealth’ initiatives such as remote monitoring and virtual consultations can reduce both travel demand and the use of highly-energy-demanding services such as hospitals, by shifting the locations of healthcare. In this seminar I will review what we know (and don’t know) about health sector digitalisation and its impacts on energy demand, and discuss ways forward for research on this important topic.
Dr Sarah Royston is a Research Fellow within the DEMAND centre (Dynamics of Energy, Mobility and Demand), based at the University of Sussex. Her current research explores “invisible energy policies”: the role of policies that are not explicitly about energy in shaping UK energy demand, with particular focus on the Higher Education and health sectors. She has previously worked at the Association for the Conservation of Energy and at Keele University, and wrote her PhD thesis on sustainable practices throughout the life-course.