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Health Care Sustainability and Patient Engagement

On March 25th, 2019, the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto invited Neil to co-facilitate a session that explored the untapped synergies between the power of patient engagement and the growing demand that health care systems be environmentally sustainable.

The program included keynote speakers (one from the healthcare sustainability community and one from the patient engagement community), a breakout session where participants engaged in guided group discussions to explore potential synergies, and a report-back panel which relayed key points from the group discussions to the broader audience.

The goal of the Symposium was to raise awareness of the negative environmental impacts of health care and to explore the potential for health systems to mitigate these harms and support communities to address the challenge of climate change. At the same time, the Symposium aimed to highlight the power of patient engagement and partnership in redesigning and reforming health care systems, and the critical role of patients in addressing health care’s environmental sustainability challenges.

Guiding Questions were:

1. How can we ensure that patients are involved in developing environmentally sustainable approaches to delivering health care that actually improve patient safety, care, and experience?

2. As engines for change, how can patients and caregivers help to build environmentally sustainable health systems?

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