Loughborough Business School researchers champion benefits of digital decarbonisation in healthcare

Professors Tom Jackson and Ian Hodgkinson with three other people at the HIMSS 2024 conference.

Loughborough Business School academics, Professors Tom Jackson and Ian Hodgkinson, took to the stage at the 2024 HIMSS European Health Conference & Exhibition in Rome on 31 May to highlight the benefits of digital decarbonisation in the healthcare sector.

Key issues addressed at HIMSS 2024 include the impact of climate change and artificial intelligence on healthcare, the resilience of health systems, and equity in healthcare provision. With the sector predicted to account for 36% of the explosion in total global data creation over the next decade, there is a growing need for active digital decarbonisation practices to reduce the environmental and financial costs.

Professors Tom Jackson and Ian Hodgkinson on stage at the HIMSS 2024 conference. There is a large screen behind them with a photo of a mountain and text that reads 'Climate protection is health protection'.

Their session, entitled ‘Building Climate Resilient and Low Carbon Sustainable Health Systems’, examined how practices like the growth of global data creation, data hoarding, and energy consumption pose an increasing challenge to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Professors Jackson and Hodgkinson explored the burden these issues present for a data-intensive sector such as healthcare, which stores large amounts of patient records and logistical information.

Discussing the issue, Professor Hodgkinson said: “As recently observed by Eric Zie and KPMG ‘With sustainability such a high priority in government and the public sector, digital decarbonisation can be a critically important component.’

“Healthcare organisations must be aware of the dark side of their data usage, especially given the rapidly increasing growth in the creation of data. Businesses need to engage responsibly with energy-intensive technologies like AI if we want to achieve a more sustainable digital future, and digital decarbonisation is an essential part of that.”