VUMC and Philips will share their successful practices for reducing CO2 emissions from medical imaging scanners and total cost of ownership.

Philips and VUMC partner to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and total cost of scanner ownership

December 04, 2023
by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter
Philips and Vanderbilt University Medical Center are sharing best practices developed from a research collaboration that significantly reduced medical imaging carbon dioxide emissions, as well as total cost of ownership.

The two announced their project in May, with VUMC providing radiology and equipment energy consumption data for Philips to derive insights about operational workflow and add them to computational model simulations that could show potential interventions for reducing the provider’s carbon footprint.

The two organizations assessed 13 MR, CT, ultrasound, and X-ray devices used by VUMC to scan an estimated 12,000 patients per month. They found that over 10 years, these scanners together emitted CO2 levels equivalent to approximately 1,000 gas cars driven for one year, and that their energy use accounted for more than half of total emissions released from diagnostic radiology.

Here are its recommendations for decreasing CO2 waste in medical imaging, while saving money:
“This study challenges conventional thinking that sustainability increases costs when it, in fact, does just the opposite. Energy-efficient, circular, digital, and cloud-based technologies can help address climate change, and this research shows that individual behavioral changes can also play an important role in speeding up global efforts towards decarbonization,” said Jeff DiLullo, chief region leader of Philips North America, in a statement.

The healthcare industry contributes 7.6% of U.S. and 4.4% of global CO2 emissions, with radiology a significant contributor.

Earlier this year, Philips became the first health technology company to gain approval for its entire value-chain CO2 emissions reduction targets by the Science-Based Targets initiative with strategic action plans. It helped 40% of its suppliers commit to science-based targets, putting it on track to achieve its 50% supplier commitment target for 2025.

VUMC and Philips are planning to publish their findings in a scientific journal.