4 New Applications in Healthcare enabled by 5G Technology
The healthcare IT industry is constantly 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 major impacts for both healthcare providers and patients alike.
5G opens up 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.
Telehealth allows chronically ill patients obtain critical healthcare where they might otherwise have difficulty leaving their home to travel their doctor to receive care. And as 5G promises to bring ultra-fast speeds with low latency, telehealth applications will improve dramatically.
The network footprint of the healthcare industry grows with each year, meaning more and more healthcare services and applications are dependent on fast network speeds and low latency.
5G technology will help turn antiquated healthcare systems in hospitals into smart hospitals where remote healthcare services can be delivered to patients around the world.
A study by Market Research Future found that the telemedicine market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 16.5% from 2017 to 2023, parallel with the emergence and roll-out of 5G. This means that faster network speeds and the quality of care will allow doctors to remotely engage with patients without the worry of network blackouts, disconnections, lag time.
5G eMBB technology will essentially eliminate patients needing to make as many trips to their doctor. For patients who can’t easily travel to their healthcare providers, 5G will allow the healthcare provider visit them via natural-feeling telepresence systems.
As a result, critical healthcare services can be delivered over a network for chronically ill patients. And with the emergence of 5G just might mean the difference between life and death for many.
Large Data Files
The healthcare industry generates massive amounts of data each day. A single patient can generate hundreds of gigabytes of data each day, from patient medical records to the large image files generated 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 used in these transfers. 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.
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 those that are fiber-based can.
Real-Time Remote Monitoring
With 5G-enabled devices healthcare providers can monitor patients remotely and gather real-time data that can be used for preventative care and other individually-tailored healthcare provisions.
Over 85% of doctors have reported that internet-connected wearables increase patient engagement with their own health, decreasing hospital costs by 16% over the next 5 years.
Patients with chronic conditions can also retain autonomy and improve outcomes with more reliable, always-on mobile personal emergency response systems; AT&T notes that despite the many benefits that remote monitoring technology brings, its usage is “limited by the capacity of the network to handle the data.”
A slow network with unreliable connections could result in doctors unable to meet with patients and obtain critical healthcare data about them, especially in an emergency.
5G technology reduces the chances this happens, allowing healthcare providers to seamlessly deliver healthcare to chronically ill patients across the fastest network available.
Innovations in medical device technology will place more medical gadgets in the hands of patients who can measure and monitor their health from home. These Do-It-Yourself innovations in healthcare will generate data via sensors that can then be transmitted and analyzed by a variety of medical and healthcare professionals.
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 IoMT devices and sensors helps doctors provide a complete health picture for their patients, leading to a personalized health treatment program.”
And 5G will make these technologies functional in ways that 3G or 4G LTE simply couldn’t.
Telit IoT in Healthcare
The healthcare industry needs to stay adaptable to fully leverage the wave of novel applications enabled by 5G networks. Negotiating the historical challenges of informational security and privacy becomes only more difficult in critical healthcare contexts.
Work with Telit for a tech partner that understands the unique needs of healthcare and hospital systems, and has the expertise to both upgrade legacy systems or launch entirely novel applications. Check out our IoT applications for healthcare for case studies and a direct link to contact our team.