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Sustainable Consumption of Healthcare: Linking Sustainable Consumption with Sustainable Healthcare and Health Consumer Discourses
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1  University of Calgary

Published: 31 October 2013 by MDPI in The 3rd World Sustainability Forum session Related Topics
Abstract: The importance of sustainable consumption has received recent attention in light of the 2013 publication of the United Nations' Post 2015 Development Agenda. Sustainable consumption concerns itself with promoting and maintaining equilibrium between human need and existing resources in order to ensure the longevity and success of tomorrow's generations. Health care is human need and depends on resources. At the same time health clients increasingly want to be in the driver's seat with their health interventions; hence, the concepts of patient-driven healthcare and people driven health research have gained in popularity. We see movements towards a 'quantified self' (where people diagnose themselves), patient-driven healthcare and research models, and health social networks and participatory medicine with an active health technology market that makes consumer personalized medicine possible. Within the sustainable consumption framework the question is which health consumer desires are sustainable. The inclusion of health care and its relationship to sustainable consumption is vital as health care, a finite resource, is essential to good health and sustainable development, but can be negatively impacted by unsustainable consumption patterns. However although one obtains hits in Google or Google Scholar for terms such as "sustainable consumption", "health consumer", sustainable healthcare", "sustainability of healthcare" and "healthcare sustainability" one obtains no hits for the phrase "sustainable consumption of healthcare". In our contribution we posit to bring the sustainable healthcare, health consumer and sustainable consumption discourses together.
Keywords: Sustainable consumption, health care, health consumer, sustainability of health care