How 5G will transform healthcare

October 13, 2021

In most cases, we used to only have one option when we became ill and needed medical attention: travel to a doctor or hospital. For people in rural areas, with doctors located several miles away, traveling while ill can be challenging and time-consuming. With the advent of telehealth and remote home monitoring systems, though, we could receive care from the comfort of our homes. Doctors could make recommendations after a short video call, and even submit prescription requests. However, this remote monitoring, along with sophisticated imaging equipment, can lead to additional strain on the networks of businesses in the healthcare industry. This often increases congestion and slows network speeds, especially for healthcare providers that might be interfacing with dozens of patients a day. The lag is not only frustrating for those using it, but the poor quality can delay patient care, which could hurt outcomes in the long run. And because the use of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies continue to grow, the amount of data on networks is expected to only increase more. 5G technologies have the potential to help resolve these challenges. Here are five ways 5G can help healthcare organizations meet the growing demands of digital transformation.

The healthcare IT market is continuously searching for new ways advanced technology can play a more impactful role in transforming healthcare delivery.

With the emergence of new 5G technologies, IT services and applications within the healthcare industry are set to become better connected than ever — a development that will have significant impacts for both healthcare providers and patients alike.

5G opens entirely new horizons for telehealth, the technology that allows patients to connect virtually with doctors and other healthcare providers, communicating via real-time video or live chat.

1. Quickly transmitting large imaging files

MRIs and other image machines are typically very large files, and often must be sent to a specialist for review. When the network is low on bandwidth, the transmission can take a long time or not send successfully. This means the patient waits even longer for treatment and providers can see fewer patients in the same amount of time.

2. Expanding telemedicine

According to a study by Market Research Future, the telemedicine market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 16.5% from 2017 to 2023. The study determined that the reason for the predicted increase is demand in rural areas for healthcare, as well as a rise in government initiatives.

3. Improving AR, VR and spatial computing

While augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and spatial computing are already being used in healthcare on a limited basis, 5G may eventually further enhance a doctor’s ability to deliver innovative, less invasive treatments. Among 5G’s many ultimate potential applications, some of the most exciting involve its role in simulating complex medical scenarios and enabling alternative treatments for the critically ill.

4. Reliable, real-time remote monitoring

By using IoT devices, healthcare providers can monitor patients and gather data that can be used to improve personalized and preventive care.

According to Anthem, 86% of doctors say wearables, which are a common type of remote monitoring, increase patient engagement with their own health. Additionally, wearables are predicted to decrease hospital costs by 16% in the next five years.

5. Artificial intelligence

Many key healthcare functions are beginning to use artificial intelligence (AI) to determine potential diagnoses and decide on the best treatment plan for a specific patient. Additionally, AI can help predict which patients are more likely to have post-operative complications, allowing healthcare systems to provide early interventions when necessary.

6. Large Data Files

The healthcare industry produces massive amounts of data. A single patient can generate hundreds of gigabytes of data each day, from patient medical records to the large image files created by MRI, CAT or PET scans.

According to AT&T, “Adding a high-speed 5G network to existing architectures can help quickly and reliably transport huge data files of medical imagery, which can improve both access to care and the quality of care. At the Austin Cancer Center, the PET scanner generates extremely large files — up to 1 gigabyte of information per patient per study.”

“To get that much data from one side of the town to another, you’ve got to have the network performance to handle it,” says Jason Lindgren, CIO of Austin Cancer Center. “We used to have to send the files after hours. Now as soon as the patient leaves the scanner, the study is already on its way. It’s beneficial to doctors because they can get the results that they need quicker.”

A 5G network means that these large files can be transmitted quickly between doctors and hospitals, reducing the time that would otherwise be needed to move them across often under-powered legacy wired networks prone to cuts and other service interruption issues. The reduction in time that 5G brings means more timely diagnostics, second opinions, treatment starts and adjustments since the medical data can be transmitted and consumed by doctors faster than ever before, whether at home or in the office.

The switch to 5G also represents a long-term solution to the ever-rising need for bandwidth since planned 5G data speed increases are more clearly keeping pace with improvements in diagnostic and medical imaging systems requirements than wired networks other than fiber-based can.

7. Sensor Innovation

Innovations in medical device technology will provide more medical gadgets to patients who can reliably measure and monitor their health from home. These do-it-yourself innovations in healthcare will calibrate, gather and validate data from trusted sensors. The data can then be transmitted to a variety of medical and health care professionals for analysis.

According to Qualcomm, medical sensors will continue to improve as patient demand continues to surge. In 2017, the Qualcomm Tricorder XPrize medical device competition saw submissions approaching Star Trek-levels of portable functionality:

“The entry included a sensor that fits into the palm of your hand and is as user-friendly as your smartphone, enabling patients to easily measure their health at home. This was a major advancement, but one sensor alone really isn’t enough. The combination of numerous patient Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) devices and sensors helps doctors provide a complete health picture for their patients, leading to a personalized health treatment program.”

< 回到列表