University of South Florida

Telehealth saves USF Health patients and the environment

As COVID-19 forced the closing of many health care practices, USF Health quickly shifted gears in March to convert patient appointments from in-person to telehealth.

Since then, patients have stayed connected with our health care teams and perhaps reaped other benefits, as well.

Here’s an interesting look at the data:

In total, from March 18 to Sept. 14, 2020, USF Health completed 80,961 telehealth appointments from clinics within our multiple locations throughout the region. To streamline the estimation on travel, we counted them as appointments in one of our flagship facilities – Morsani Center for Advanced Healthcare or South Tampa Center for Advanced Healthcare – thus we provided 67,850 completed telehealth appointments.

In addition, we simplified the distance travels by using geocoded addresses that followed longitudinal/latitudinal lines (as the crow flies), vs a typical road map. Then we multiplied by two to reflect a round trip.

The results: for the 67,850 completed telehealth appointments that replaced traveling to either the Morsani Center or STC, our patients saved the equivalent of:

  • Total round-trip mileage saved: 2,548,724
  • Gallons of gas saved: 114,293
    • Based on 2017 EPA fleet average of 22.3 mpg
  • $ of gas saved: $233,157
    • Based on FL average cost per gallon between March – August of $2.04 (EIA)
  • Greenhouse gas CO2 saved equivalencies:
    • CO2 saved (lbs): 2,239,283
    • CO2 saved (tons): 1,120
  • Equivalent of removing 219 passenger cars from the road for one year



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