September 6: Today on TownHall Karla Arzola, Director of Information Technology - Swedish Medical Center at HealthONE speaks with Andy Draper, CIO at HCA Healthcare about climate change, how healthcare factors into the equation, and how CIOs can help drive change for carbon emission reduction initiatives. They also discuss an article predicting that the next 1,000 $1B startups will be in climate tech. What inspired him to start the Green CIO initiative? What are some climate change specific risks he sees for healthcare? What are some things CIOs and organizations can do to start the journey to net zero emissions?
This transcription is provided by artificial intelligence. We believe in technology but understand that even the smartest robots can sometimes get speech recognition wrong.
Today on This Week Health.
in the United States, 10% of all the emissions that are produced and put into the environment
comes from healthcare And so 20% of the economy, $4 trillion a year is from healthcare. It has a major carbon footprint. It, leaders see the whole organization. I said, well, what can I do?
Welcome to This Week Health Community. This is TownHall a show hosted by leaders on the front lines with interviews of people making things happen in healthcare with technology. My name is Bill Russell, the creator of This Week Health, a set of channels designed to amplify great thinking to propel healthcare forward. We want to thank our show sponsors Olive, Rubrik, Trellix, Medigate and F5 in partnership with Sirius Healthcare for investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders. Now onto our show.
Good afternoon everyone. My name is Carlos, so I'm the it director at sewage medical center. It's an ha hospital here in Colorado, and this is my first podcast and I am extremely excited to be a collaborator for this week health.
So, without further ado, I'm gonna introduce today's guest, Andy drap. So Andy is the CIO of HH continental division. And he's a faculty member of the university of Denver. And he also is an it entrepreneur. I've had the opportunity to work with Andy for about three years now.
And I'm always seriously, Andy fascinated about your passion for innovation and your passion for growing leaders. And so Andy, welcome to the show. Why don't you introduce yourself and talk a little bit about your background and your current role as CIO.
Hey, Carla. Hey, this is great. This is your first podcast.
It is my first one. Yes. So awesome. Here we go.
so I'm honored and I'm a Guinea pig. That's awesome. Carla, goodness. Thanks. I'm a second generation hospital administrator. I've grown up around healthcare topics for my whole. Pretty much. And I've been in three time entrepreneur in healthcare.
I work for Memorial Herman in Houston, which is amazing. We've been with HCA for, I think, 12 years now. And I just love it. It's fun being a CIO cuz you, first of all, I think you get to see the whole organization horizontally from. Home health to physicians, to our, managed care clinical integrated network to the hospitals.
And this too, you get into the weeds. So we have to know that people process technology of every aspect of that. And I would argue that outside of maybe the CEO who understands the business strategy no one is in the depth that we are in so many different conversations all the time.
So I love that part about. Thanks for having
Yeah. No, thank you. Thank you. And Andy, as much as I would love to highlight the work that you've done as an innovative leader in HCA, there's something else that I wanna talk to you about because this is a topic that we're still creating awareness and you're so passionate about.
And so you have a green CIO initiative. And sustainability and net carbon zero is kind of newish in the healthcare industry. You've done a ton of research. And so before we dive into a lot of the stuff that you've done, tell us more about the green CIO and what inspired you to start doing this work?'s Eve for crying out loud of:
homes I read a book, bill gates how to avoid a climate disaster. And it's amazing. And it's very simple and I admire bill gates cuz he's the technologist and he's extremely brilliant. And he is got lots of money. He is investing in a lot of things to do the right thing with the planet in many different areas, poverty and environment So when I put the book down, I said, well, what can I do as an it leader? And it turns out there's quite a bit that we can do. And in particular, this, and we'll talk more, but in the United States, 10% of all the emissions that are produced and put into the environment into our fragile atmosphere, which protects us from the heat of the sun and the cold of.
space 10% of that comes from healthcare mm-hmm . And so 20% of the economy, $4 trillion a year is from healthcare. So it's the largest industry in the United States. It has a major carbon footprint. And as my opening statement about it, leaders see the whole organization. I said, well, what can I do?
And there's a lot we can do. So we'll talk more about that.
And it's interesting that you mentioned that about. Not only healthcare, but hospitals, right. Having the biggest footprint for what I understand. You mentioned on your statistics, I was able to go to one of your presentations and yesterday you and I actually attended a meeting and ha's talking about some of the things that they're doing as well.
And they talk about some of the risks associated to climate change. And how would that. Impact hospitals. Right. Can you talk a little bit about that and let us know what is it that you're seeing? And obviously and this is actually why we're doing this work.
And so can you, give us your, feedback?
Sure. And it's because I'm aware of this, I see this all everywhere, so I'm more in tune than most people. And so. Yesterday on a news website, it announced that the Antarctic ice shelf is going to melt and a big chunk of it. And it has a certain name.
I don't remember the name, but if, the entire planet stopped producing carbon emissions today, zero, today, and forever. That ice sheet in the Antarctic is going to melt and it will cause a one foot sea rise and period. That is a fact. And so think about the coastal areas across the world. Think about the islands.
That's one foot within the next 50 years or so. And people may say, oh, that's not a lot. Or I might not be around, but the facts are that the coastlines are changing. And there's flooding in Miami there's fires in Colorado and new year's Eve. One of the greatest areas of risk is in the Southeast because of leave it or not forest fires in some of these really wooded areas like the Carolina.years. The west is in a:
That are admitted into our atmosphere every year. Our atmosphere protects us from the cold of space and the sun, the heat of the sun. And what happens is it warms up so that the blankets keeps getting layers on it, traps in moisture and heat, and that makes the planet warmer and creates all these different wacky weather events.
And so we, as it leaders can do something about it and we have to do something about. Because if we don't do something about it in the next couple years, and start being aggressive with a plan,
getting to zero in two years, but just building the plan, getting consensus, what it leaders do really well.
It'll be too late.
And that's why we don't talk about going to zero. Right. We talk about going net zero so we can counter yeah. Some of the effects. Yeah. Some of the effects or some of the carbon that we're producing, we're never gonna be zero. Right. So I know that you started a program or an initiative within HCA.
What is your goal? and obviously this is not particular to HCA, but there's something that our, it executives can start doing to make in this case, our vendors accountable for their plan ourselves accountable as well. Right. So, what can we do, Andy? And what are you working on right now?
Okay. I think there's a call to action coming from a couple different sources. First of all, in the private sector, the private equity group BlackRock which has 11 trillion in assets has said every business that they have in ownership stake in must produce a plan to get to a carbon zero footprint across the world.
There are accounting standards for carbon accounting. There are guidelines on how to measure it. There is international treaties have been going around for 30 plus years. And so outside of the United States, the rest of the world is much further along than we are. And so that's happening. Number two, the Biden administration put a rule into effect that any publicly traded company will have to submit a report on how they're gonna reduce their carbon F.the first reporting period of:
Any coast or at risk for hurricanes, hospitals are risk for fire in the west. All these assets are at risk for climate damage. Let alone the population like when we had smoke here last year, Carla, a lot of nurses and employees couldn't come to work or had to work inside cuz the smoke was so bad during that period of time in September.
So those forces are coming to be it's driven by the financial. Penalty and the financial risk of companies. And so that to me is a signal that the privates that this has gone beyond an environmental movement, this is now a business adopted initiative. And that is, big number one point to make is this.
Across the world is across industries. It's impacting debt ratings for bond holders, stock ratings for companies how board of trustees invest. And so it's happening now specifically for healthcare. Earlier this year, there was a climate pledge that 61 health systems announced that they were gonna go to reduce their carbon footprint by 50% in the next few years and 61 health systems, some really big health systems did that.
Common spirit Ascension, et cetera. So there is in conclusion, the market's moving. It's driven by financial forces. Number two in healthcare it's moving. There's big pledges being made and then most important in healthcare for healthcare leaders, particularly healthcare, it leaders. We have an obligation to take care of our community and our patients.
And it's in the for-profit mission of the for-profit hospitals and HCA. So above all else, we care about the care and improvement of human life. To me, the improvement of human life is why HCA is growing aggressively with their carbon initiative in the nonprofit world. The public health definition is to take care of a population and to do no harm to that population.happening right now today in:
We'll go back to our show in just a moment. I wanted to take this opportunity to invite you to our next two webinars. On September 8th, we're gonna have challenges and solutions to unmanaged devices in healthcare. This is a significant problem in healthcare, and here we're gonna discuss the tools that are obviously integral to delivering health, but are sometimes some of the most vulnerable tools we have.
In the health system, guests are gonna come from leaders from children's of Los Angeles and Intermountain, and they're gonna share their experience in maintaining their devices on September 8th at 1:00 PM Eastern time. If you haven't figured it out yet, we do all of our webinars on Thursday at 1:00 PM.
Our second webinar will be. Patient room next, improve care efficiency. The patient room is evolving inside and outside of your four walls. What is coming next to improve clinical effectiveness through technology with guests from health systems like yours, we're gonna discuss machine vision, ambient listening, AI care, companions, and much more.
And I've been having some of the conversations around this patient room. Exciting technologies really interesting use cases. I think you're gonna wanna set aside some time for this one before both webinars check out the briefing campaigns that are being released on our channel on the conference channel around this, these conversations are gonna give you a sneak peek into the discussions that we are going to have.
You can find these episodes in register for both webinars at this week. health.com. Both webinars will be in the top right hand corner. And I look forward to seeing you there. Back to our show.
So do you think that at some point the federal government is gonna have to put like a mandate, kinda like what they do with EMR.
Right. You have to go and do the certain thing. Cause right now, I mean, are they specific? I don't think there's like global metrics or specific metrics that we have to follow or are they, how are companies measuring the reduction of carbon? How are we doing.
Yeah, there is a, it's called the greenhouse gas protocol G HG protocol.org.
That is the international standard for carbon accounting across all industries. Full stop. As far as a mandate, the Biden rule for the sec securities exchange commission is requiring all publicly traded companies to. Submit a carbon zero plan. Okay. Non nonprofit sector is not part of that. So a lot, I think, I don't know what exact, percent is nonprofit in healthcare, but let's say 90% of the hospitals are nonprofit even within their nonprofit.
The boards are gonna start asking, what is our plan for carbon zero? The, for profits are doing it. What are, what is our plan? And also a lot of the vendors that we deal with as it leaders are publicly traded entities Dell and Amazon the supply chain partners we work with. And they're already having to do this.
So connecting the dots of an it leader in a healthcare organization. There's pressure from the market. There's gonna be a pressure from the boards that are happening in the next 12 months and now, and then there's work that it leaders can do.
Thank you Dan and I do have something else that I wanna ask you, that you brought up that isn't related to innovation and sustainability, right?that talks about how the next:
Yeah. So that quote was from Larry Fink, who is the CEO of BlackRock, which has 11 trillion of assets. They own different parts of companies. And, that was from him. I want to be humble in face of this, this isn't just cuz I'm a green person and sensitive environment. Cause I live in Colorado.
This has been, the whole world has evolved based on fossil fuels because fossil fuels are efficient. You can't, the Titanic could not have attempted to cross the Atlantic with a bunch of wood fire to move the. They had to use coal because coal's very efficient in order to get a tomato to market.
There are basically the equivalent of five teaspoons of petroleum products in there. And when you think about a tomato, it has to be harvested, which may involve a tractor. Has to be Shipp. It's often in a plastic container, it has to be trucked. It has to be air conditioned in a, supermarket.
And so this is not gonna be easy. And bill gates says that in the book and one of bill gates' favorite author is called uh, Vaslav smell who's out of Canada and he talks. How the entire modern world from 18 hundreds to today has been built on cheap fossil fuel, a gallon of gas. Even when it was expensive, a couple months ago, 4, 5, 6 bucks a gallon is still cheaper than a gallon of milk in some cases.
So that's how entrenched fossil fuels are. And I think what Larry think means by the next thousand unicorns are gonna be in this post fossil fuel era is with the Biden administration's inflation reduction act. There's $375 billion worth of incentives. And. 375 billion worth incentives. I read another article that there's another 370 billion loan guarantees involved.
So that's almost 800 billion and there's, there's economists that do the math of federal stimulus and how it goes through the private sector. And I think the number is five, but if you. 800 billion times five is 4 trillion. 4 trillion are gonna be out in the economy, circulating through helping get concrete, to be carbon, zero hospitals, to reduce their carbon footprint. So it's pretty easy to do the math to see that this is a big business now and there's lots of opportunity out there.
Yeah. Well, thank you, Andy, for sharing all this information with us, obviously we're just scratching the surface, right? There's so much to learn and so much to do. If you were to give us three takeaways today, what would that be?
That's the easiest part. First of all, as an it leader, go to your CEO and say, what is our plan to get to carbon zero?
It's a simple question that doesn't cost anything, maybe a cup of coffee. The second thing is, and that will start the process of, I don't know what our plan is. We need to plan. Why do we need a plan? Let's go talk to the board, da, da, da. And there's all these cascading events. Just with that simple free question.
What is our plan to get to carbon zero? Number two. Call your power vendor. As it, people we deal with hundreds of vendors every year. One of 'em is called the electric utility company and the gas utility company. I call them vendors cuz they sell us stuff, just like nuance sales list stuff. And so I called our power vendor and they have programs to help reduce and even pay hospitals to replace L E D lights or pneumatic systems in the boiler area.
Replace chillers, things like that. The third thing you can do is when you start a new project, ask your vendors for their climate, their carbon zero plan. And we started doing that a few months ago every vendor that we've started a new project with has a carbon zero plan. So this is a grassroots initiative.
It's really about asking the question. Ask your CEO, ask your power vendor, ask your other vendors. And you'd be surprised about how engaged people are and how they want to do it.
Awesome. Well, any final thoughts?
Carla. This is great. I really wish you luck on your podcast. You're a great interviewer.
Well, this is my first one, Andy.
I hope I get better, cuz is I get super nervous, but I really appreciate you partnering with me on this one. You know that I'm a fan of yours, so thank you for your time. I really appreciate it. And Again, everybody. If you wanna learn more about sustainability in our industry, go to queen cio.org.
Thank you. Have a great day.
I really love this show. I love hearing from people on the front lines. I love hearing from these leaders and we want to thank our hosts who continue to support the community by developing this great content. We also want to thank our show sponsors, olive rubric trellis. Mitigate and F five in partnership with serious healthcare for investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders.
If you wanna support the show, let someone know about our shows. They all start with this week health and you can find them wherever you listen to podcasts. There's keynote town hall and newsroom. Check them out today. And thanks for listening. That's all for now.