Explore real-world examples of how 5G technology is rethinking and reshaping the healthcare sector.
The next generation technology of 5G has opened up possibilities across a wide range of healthcare sectors, from surgery to emergency response, health monitoring, diagnosis and medical training.
Below we highlight examples that we believe show the most significant progress to date:
Autonomous medical drones
The use of ultra-reliable autonomous drones in the healthcare field has the potential to save lives. Harnessing the ultra-high speeds and low latency of 5G, aided by network slicing and 5G radio, medical drones can have shorter response times, real-time video feeds and precise control in changing conditions.
Being launched and managed remotely will keep the drone flying safely, while potentially providing real-time video. This can give emergency service dispatchers the ability to assist rescue teams and bystanders by deploying emergency supplies or defibrillators.
Read on to see how current use of drone technology is changing the traditional healthcare landscape.
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Two different forms of robotic surgery are currently being developed for the 5G era.
The first is the natural extension of surgery with the assistance of video. This could allow surgeons to remotely operate on patients via surgical robot technology anywhere in the world with lower latency than is currently possible with 4G. Emergency surgery could take place on one side of a city while the specialists are located on the other side of the city or even further afield.
As surgery can be a life-or-death situation, any communication must be able to exchange data and respond in real-time. 5G’s low latency and ultra-reliability, increased peak data rates, and bandwidth provides this capability.
The second is the low latency provided by 5G, which enables haptic technology in the medical field. A haptic glove could be used to support a paramedic in an ambulance allowing more advanced diagnostics. Another example could be a haptic glove worn by a surgeon that connects to a surgical robot, allowing the glove to detect tissues of different densities. This would enable the surgeon to apply the right level of pressure to complete a successful operation.
5G could allow ambulances to play a bigger role in preparing patients for treatment at medical facilities.
Connecting through a high-speed, low latency network, real-time high-quality video feeds can give medical staff the opportunity to simultaneously assess patients in en-route, take and transmit patient data, and assist medics with an immediate course of treatment accurately – saving lives and improving patient outcomes.
5G’s network slicing prioritises this data in the case of an emergency so that not a moment is lost. In the future we might also see ambulances linked to traffic signals to further reduce response times.
See examples of next generation ambulances
To ensure consistent global standards, medical students could receive enhanced world-class training from specialist tutors located anywhere in the world. This would lower current training supply costs and ultimately improving patient outcomes through the use of VR.
VR medical training is currently possible but limited, with bulky, tethered headsets confined to a small class in a single location.
5G frees things up and removes the need for tethers. Lower latency allows the virtual instruments to be more precise, and the use of haptic feedback allows for a more realistic experience.