5 Ways 5G Will Improve Healthcare

5G has been the latest buzzword when it comes to tech-talk and rightly so, since 5G will give us the speed and reliability we’ve been looking for in a network. The new fifth-generation in wireless tech will deliver peak speeds up to 20 Gbps and latency as low as one millisecond, allowing users to experience speeds like we’ve never had before. The implementation of 5G will impact every aspect of our daily lives, not just our mobile devices. Everything from smart appliances to security systems will work faster and better than they have before. And excitedly, the healthcare industry isn’t exempt from reaping the benefits of the new 5G network.

We used to only have one option when we’ve fallen ill or need medical attention: drive to the doctor or hospital. But, for many people in rural areas, doctors can be several miles away, forcing you to commute long periods of time while ill. Although services like Telehealth are available to allow patients to receive care in the comfort of their own home from licensed doctors over a short call there, it still presents a strain on the network.

Remote monitoring and advanced imaging equipment can bog down the networks the healthcare industry relies heavily upon. The decrease in network speed significantly impacts the healthcare providers as they see dozens of patients a day and require faster turnaround time to provide adequate care to patients.

Doctor’s offices and hospitals use a lot of technology that communicates with each other using the internet, making those devices fall into the category of Internet of Things (IoT). IoT is a system of interconnected devices that use network connectivity (internet) to collect and exchange information. As more technology adapts to the use of IoT, the network congestion will only increase, which poses a slew of challenges for the healthcare industry. But the speed and reliability of 5G hopes to change that. Here are five ways 5G will revolutionize the healthcare industry.  

Transmitting Large Imaging Files Faster

MRIs and other imaging machines take huge files that are then sent to a specialist to evaluate, and that specialist then communicates their findings to the doctor. But when the network is slow because that specialist isn’t the only one receiving large files, patients have to wait longer for treatment. And if the image was never received due to low bandwidth, the patient has to wait even longer. The addition of the high-speed 5G network to existing structures will give hospitals the reliability they’re looking for when sending files over network connections allowing providers to see more patients faster. “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.”

Expanding Telemedicine

Telemedicine allows healthcare providers to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients remotely without that person having to come to a doctor’s office. Some telemedicine healthcare providers can write prescriptions as well, but all this works on the network. Telemedicine requires a high-speed network that can support the real-time video that is needed to diagnose patients, which means a wired connection. But a wired connection isn’t fast. 5G, however, can expand the reach of the telemedicine program by increasing the ability to handle the high volume of appointments and calls. This is an excellent thing because a study conducted by Market Research Future concluded that telemedicine is expected to have an annual growth of 16.5% from 2017 to 2023 due to government push and demand for healthcare in rural areas.  

Improvements in Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented and virtual reality are currently used in healthcare and deliver results, but they will get better with the roll-out of 5G. Less invasive and more revolutionary will be the norm for many doctors in healthcare. One of the main advancements is using VR and AR to simulate medical scenarios for critically ill patients. This advancement will aide in doctors being able to see multiple options for either surgery or cure to serve patients better.

Remote Monitoring

Monitoring patients is critical when providing quality healthcare to patients because essentially, it’s the difference between life or death. Since the stakes are so high, the network has to be reliable enough to transmit information from patients to providers in a timely matter. And with many hospitals having equipment connected via networks, a slow connection can be dangerous. IoT devices can increase the care patients receive by gathering data and transmitting to the provider via a wearable. 5G helps because the network has lower latency and a higher capacity to handle the necessary data for quicker decisions to be made about the health of patients.   

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is vital for the healthcare industry because it can be used to determine possible diagnoses and decide the best course of action for treatment. Healthcare providers will also be able to detect if patients will have complications post-operative and find ways to combat them if possible. 5G makes all of this possible by having the speed and capacity to handle patient information and data.

The 5G network allows these technologies to work in unison to provide a more personalized approach to healthcare. Providers will increase the speed in which decisions are made and decrease risk to the patient when performing invasive procedures.      

Article Sourced: AT&T Business