How 5G Is Propelling The Digital Healthcare Revolution

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, healthcare workers are faced with a mounting series of challenges in the workplace. By digitizing hospitals and developing technological medical innovations, medical professionals can ease their workloads while meeting patients’ needs with more speed, accuracy, and efficiency. In order to do so, however, an infrastructure that is capable of running such massive digital deployments is required. This is where 5G comes in.

5G: The ideal healthcare solution

As the latest cellular network technology, 5G possesses the capabilities necessary for developing and operating digital healthcare solutions. With wider bandwidth and faster connection speeds than its predecessors, 5G also offers lower latency, which is the delay in response time of a device on a network. Such capabilities make it possible to operate technology that can monitor patients and assist with treatments in real time.

With this breakthrough technology at their fingertips, there are numerous 5G stocks  pouring resources into the potential of the digital healthcare revolution.

Healthcare goes virtual

5G-powered virtual reality (VR) technology has numerous applications in the healthcare space.

Using VR, doctors and medical students will be able to simulate operations, thereby developing their skills without having to deal with the risks that comes with performing real operations on living patients. Another major innovation opportunity comes in the form of VR therapy, which immerses patients in an environment of their choosing. When implemented correctly, this therapy can help to alleviate chronic pain and injuries.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle is making inroads with their VR technology development thanks to AT&T’s 5G network. The medical center’s VR projects include remote pain management, near real-time surgical assistance, and virtual training programs.

Getting specialist advice in an instant

Oftentimes, healthcare workers need to send medical imagery such as MRI and PET scans to specialists in order to get their input. Because of their large file sizes, however, sending such images to specialists proves challenging. As a result, medical centers such as the Austin Cancer Center resort to only sending such images after hours so as not to disrupt the functioning of other vital activities.

The problem with this approach, however, is that the images get to the specialist later and thus delay treatment times. Using Ericsson’s 5G connectivity, Italian manufacturer Imaginalis is advancing its remote diagnosis technology which includes quicker image transfer speeds. The company is also developing a 5G-enabled 3D CAT scan which, in addition to faster image uploads, will provide more detailed medical imagery than is currently offered.

Other 5G network providers are also playing their part to offer greater broadband capabilities to healthcare providers. Verizon is aiming to equip hospitals with its Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband, a network that will enable hospitals to send high resolution imagery at all hours without disrupting other crucial activities.

Constant care

Not every stage of healthcare occurs within the confines of a hospital. This is especially true for preventative care, when doctors look to constantly monitor patients throughout the day to ensure that their health remains stable. This form of monitoring typically involves wearable devices. 

With 5G, these devices can continuously monitor patients in real time while simultaneously providing doctors with crucial information, which is particularly important if an irregularity occurs. Semiconductor company Qualcomm has developed a patient monitoring device called the 2net Hub. Utilizing the latency of 5G technology, the 2net Hub is able to instantly detect important information such as blood pressure and glucose levels while seamlessly transferring it to the doctor. 

Healthcare without borders

For patients living in rural areas, access to medical care is often limited because of the distance that separates them from the nearest hospital. This problem is particularly prevalent for impoverished patients who may not have the financial means to afford transport and hospital bills. Fortunately, telemedicine presents a potential solution.

Due to its quick connection speeds, 5G enables doctors to provide remote appointments to patients regardless of physical location. Furthermore, the broad bandwidth offered by 5G helps to establish a reliable internet connection that enables doctors to provide prompt medical assistance without disruption.

Digitizing the operating theatre

The superior latency offered by 5G is fueling the development of surgical assistance devices that will enable medical professionals to perform surgeries with higher accuracy while posing less risk to patients. Laser manufacturer El.en. is developing a 5G-powered lasers that are expected to assist with performing surgeries with minimal invasiveness.

The company is also working on robotic assisted laser surgical devices that will provide doctors with the ability to perform operations with higher accuracy and less manual work. 

Moving medicine forward

The list of 5G use cases in the medical field is constantly growing, with deployments rapidly rolling out on a regular basis. As a result, 5G is securing its role as an important if not necessary technology in the healthcare field for years to come. 

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Written by Austin Crane

Austin is the principle web director for Untamed Science and Stone Age Man. He is also the web-director of the series for the High School biology, Middle Grades Science and Elementary Science content. When Austin isn't making amazing content for the web, he's out on his mountain bike or in a canoe.

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