On a Mission to Retire CDs and Protect the Planet

PocketHealth Ditch the Disk Ontario provider CD competition

In 2012, Apple released the last MacBook with a CD drive. As streaming gained popularity through the mid-2010s, CD sales diminished and other manufacturers followed suit. Users rejoiced – laptops became lighter in weight and we adopted more discreet methods of storing and sharing data. But in healthcare, this trend is still slowly catching on.

Radiology clinics still consider CDs the choice method for capturing and sharing medical imaging. But we neglect to think about the lifecycle of these discs, which are made from a combination of materials, including polycarbonate plastic – destined for landfills, oceans or releasing emissions once they’re burned into the atmosphere. 

But the environmental footprint spans beyond just the tangible impact made by physical CDs. Patients have to travel to and from clinics to pick up the discs and in the age of telehealth, it requires them to personally distribute CDs to other members of their care team when it’s neither necessary nor efficient.


Leading the pack to eliminate CDs

To further our mission to reduce CD-usage while simultaneously empowering patients, PocketHealth challenged our care partners to accelerate the shift to digital sharing. Last month, we launched our first ever site competition in honor of World Health Day. The theme for this year is “My Planet, My Health,” so we designed this competition around reducing the number of CDs being put out in the world.

Combined, these hospitals and imaging centers saved more than 10,000 CDs in the month of April alone, by switching patients to PocketHealth, and if we continue on this path, CDs could finally become a distant memory.

We’re proud of our care partners who rose to the challenge and reduced their CD output. These Ontario hospitals and imaging centers all play a critical role in our journey to eliminate this wasteful practice, while giving patients the tools to better manage their health:

  • Humber River Hospital
  • Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare
  • Oak Valley Health
  • Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital
  • Sault Area Hospital
  • St. Joseph’s Health Care London
  • Trillium Health Partners
  • University Health Network
  • William Osler Health System


Convenience vs sustainability: why not both?

More often, we find convenience and sustainability are at odds – we can have one, but not both. CDs, however, are neither. It’s why the choice to go digital shouldn’t be a difficult one. In fact, nearly half of consumers admit that while they care about the environment in purchasing decisions, they prioritize convenience.

Any solution that reduces waste while making people’s lives easier can and should be widely adopted. Luckily for patients and providers, the PocketHealth platform saves time when compared to burning CDs. Efficiency is a major priority for providers, and our process for sharing and retrieving patient images keeps clicks to a minimum, giving physicians time back to care for patients. 


A healthier, low-waste future

While removing CDs from medical imaging workstreams remains a work in progress, the events of the last two years have been eye-opening for patients, providers and everyone. The need for PPE and heightened sanitation measures led to a 400% increase in clinical waste in some regions. 

Sustainability in healthcare will continue to be a challenge, but remains a priority. We’re envisioning a low-waste medical system and CDs are an easy area to tackle, so we’ll continue to work with our care partners to make this a reality.

Technology that inconveniences its users while adding to the world’s plastics problem should be reevaluated. Every PocketHealth user not only eliminates the waste from CDs, they bring us one step closer to a healthier future, and over time, we hope to turn 10,000 into 100,000 CDs conserved.

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