How MedTech companies can deliver on social and environmental sustainability

environmental sustainability with medtech

Since the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a special report in 2019, the world has started to wake up to the realities of climate change. 

The impact of climate change is becoming an important consideration and conversation at the C-suite level, with industry leaders looking for innovative ways to create prosperity whilst protecting the planet. At the same time, people are also more climate-conscious, with a survey in 2020 revealing that almost 50% of consumers are interested in finding brands that are ‘environmentally responsible’. 

For industries such as MedTech, being more environmentally responsible involves finding more sustainable approaches to product lifecycles, reducing carbon footprints, and mitigating other negative social and environmental impacts.

So what part do MedTech companies have to play in delivering a fairer and more sustainable future? 

Where MedTech meets UN Sustainable Development Goals

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) provide 17 goals and a global framework for how we can end poverty by addressing social needs, such as education, and tackling the world’s biggest challenges, like climate change. 

When it comes to health, the environment, and making a social impact, the MedTech industry is perfectly poised to make a difference, globally. In fact, the industry as a whole is very much aligned with the SDG.

Goal 3: Good Health And Well-Being

Good health, well-being, and better patient outcomes are at the heart of the MedTech industry. But the onset of the global pandemic in 2020 served to highlight global inequalities in healthcare systems, and draw attention to the links between human health and the environment, with many natural ecosystems under threat. 

Research seen by the World Bank indicates that around 70% of emerging diseases are transmitted from animals to humans. And pathogens tend to thrive in places where natural ecosystems are being threatened.     

Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities

It’s arguable that MedTech has a real opportunity to make a powerful social impact by leveling up disadvantaged communities through medical devices that can help save lives. The pandemic hit the poorest and most vulnerable communities around the world hard, and this is reflective of the current imbalance in access to quality healthcare. For example, a study of developing countries conducted by the UN shows that women living in rural areas are 3 times more likely to die in childbirth than those in urban areas.

Goal 12: Responsible Consumption And Production

Unfortunately, economic and social progress comes at an environmental cost. To the extent that our environment is degrading in areas that humans rely on for future survival. By increasing efficiencies, and doing more with less, we can reduce waste and pollution across the lifecycles of our products. 

Like any manufactured product, it’s possible for companies that create medical devices to develop more socially and environmentally responsible value chains – helping to make the healthcare sector as a whole more sustainable. The UN estimates that if the global population of Earth reaches 9.6 billion by 2050, we would need the equivalent of about 3 planets’ worth of natural resources to sustain our current lifestyles.

Goal 13: Climate Action 

No country is immune to the effects of climate change. In 2020, the global pandemic caused a temporary dip in greenhouse gas emissions, but as the world resumes business as normal, emissions are likely to rise again. A key contributor to carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is air travel, which accounts for around 5% globally. The solution? More sustainable tourism, whether for business or pleasure. According to one source, in March 2021, 83% of global travelers believe that sustainable travel is important.

How Rods&Cones technology helps support sustainability 

Sustainability is baked into Rods&Cones technology, which provides remote access to the operating room (OR). This has social and environmental benefits for both medical sales teams and medical professionals:

  • Medical device companies can demo products remotely to a wider audience, without incurring the associated travel and subsistence costs, as well as lowering CO2 emissions.
  • Medical reps can attend more surgeries in a day and work closely with healthcare teams, again minimizing travel and pollution, at the same time as increasing business efficiency.
  • Using a Rods&Cones surgery assistance solution, specialists from around the world can assist remotely with procedures taking place in isolated rural communities, providing better care where it’s most needed.
  • Doctors can help save lives instantly without the need for travel, giving and receiving expertise when and where it’s needed most.
  • Medical students can learn from the best surgeons in the world by watching and interacting with live surgery from outside the OR. 
  • Rods&Cones technology facilitates the democratization of medical knowledge, and helps to accelerate improvements in medical care around the world.
  • Healthcare professionals can call upon the expertise of international surgeons during complex procedures. 
  • Getting another pair of expert eyes in the OR to offer guidance remotely is a cost-effective way for healthcare providers to deliver better patient outcomes, facilitate better decision-making, and provide better care with fewer post-op complications.  

Making MedTech more sustainable

Striking the right balance between business needs and environmental necessities is no easy task – for any industry. By its very nature, MedTech is intrinsically part of a more sustainable future. However, there is always more that can be done. 

Working towards a more sustainable future involves much more than a one-off repair or slight adjustment in business practices. Whilst there is no quick fix for making MedTech more environmentally responsible, medical devices like remote surgical assistance technologies from Rods&Cones create the possibility for more sustainable practices within the sector.

Proving that what’s better for business can also be better for the planet. 



Interested in using Rods&Cones technology to facilitate more sustainable practices in your MedTech sales? Why not book a demo to see the possibilities for yourself!

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