From farming to gaming to driving to work, 5G is promising to be a ubiquitous force
There doesn’t seem to be a single vertical that isn’t being transformed by the next generation of cellular technology. From farming to gaming to driving to work, 5G is promising to be a ubiquitous force in our daily lives. One such area that has experienced a number of recent 5G developments is the medical field, where experts are changing the way doctors and nurses do their jobs and how patients receive care.
Pathology and diagnoses
A few weeks ago, Samsung Medical Center (SMC) and Korean telecom KT Corporation announced their partnership to develop 5G medical services to support the development of smart hospitals, including improving pathology services, or the study of a disease or ailment’s causes and effects.
KT has built an enterprise-dedicated 5G network at SMC, which includes a 5G-powered digital pathological analysis. According to the companies, the digital pathological analysis is a world-first example of using 5G technology for on-site medical problems.
Previously, diagnostic pathology at the Korean hospital involved sending tissues taken from the patient during surgery to pathologists in an adjacent room, a process that required roughly 20 minutes and made on-site group analyses a challenge.
Now, doctors will be able to utilize the high speed and low latency of the 5G network to efficiently and quickly access pathological data obtained during surgery, as well as access relevant materials and files from anywhere in the world, which ensures better medical services. Obtaining this information quickly is critical in determining the conditions of patients during a procedure.
In China, ZTE and China Telecom are claiming to have developed China’s first 5G remote diagnosis of the new coronavirus pneumonia backed up with the latest 5G technology.
The pneumonia-like virus was first reported in Wuhan, China, on December 31, 2019, and has subsequently spread to various other countries, causing worldwide concern.
Since the outbreak, ZTE and China Telecom have been moving quickly. First, the two built interconnected 5G indoor base stations on January 25, connecting the conference room for remote diagnosis and treatment in West China Hospital to the remote diagnosis and treatment system; and then, completed the construction, optimization, speed test and commissioning of the 5G indoor distribution system at another core point of the remote diagnosis and treatment system the following day.
In arrangement with the Sichuan Health and Health Commission, the 5G remote consultation system will access 27 hospitals that have accepted and treated patients. ZTE will then build China’s first 5G remote diagnosis coronavirus infection system covering the Sichuan province, city and county to provide a single network for remote diagnosis in front-line hospitals.
Remote surgery and patient care
Many believe that 5G will revolutionize how medical staff perform surgery and administer medical treatments. These innovations include “tele-presence,” where a surgeon watch a real-time operation and can provide expert support, and “tele-surgery,” where the doctor actually operates the surgical device remotely.
4G networks are not suitable for these types of applications because the lag time between input and output can sometimes be as long as 2 seconds—a delay long enough to prove devastating in an operating room.
5G, on the other hand, aims to reduce latency to an almost instantaneous 2 milliseconds between devices.
Further, as 5G services expand for the medical field, it may no longer be necessary for patients to be transported a specific clinic or specialist. Instead, they can undergo a remote consultation, saving both doctor and patient time and making it possible for individuals who struggle to receive care to be more appropriately treated.
Recently, the first laparoscopy surgical procedure—in which a fiber-optic instrument is inserted through the abdominal wall—was performed at the Skolkovo Innovation Center in Moscow using 5G. The procedure, which involved the use of a laparoscope and 4K camera connected to the 5g network, resulted in the successful removal of a cancer tumor.
AT&T is working with The Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine of USC to open a “smart” facility to further advance the multidisciplinary cancer research ecosystem. One of the partnerships goals is to use the telecom’s 5G network to ‘revolutionize the communication between researchers and patients.’
According a press release, the pair will accomplish this by equipping the building with multi access edge computing (MEC), artificial intelligence (AI) and various other technology from AT&T to power the facility for cancer research, treatment and wellness education.
The solution will include a distributed antenna system (DAS), 5G using millimeter wave spectrum, multi-access edge computing and an IoT platform,.
Some of the specific ways 5G can be expected to improve patient experience is the implementation of connected sensors that will track patient-staff interactions to be analyzed in an effort to provide better outcomes and immersive and personalized experiences for patients.
Finally, 5G promises to transform medical field by drastically increasing the amount and quality of valuable medical data that can be gathered and processed at high speed. From medical records to larger image files from MRI or CAT scans, a single patient can generate hundreds of gigabytes of data each day. The transfer of this data can be hugely aided by the implementation of a 5G, improving care by reducing the time it takes to reach a diagnosis and to begin treatment.
In addition, surgeons can receive real-time data from their patients during surgery, and medical specialists will all be able to work together from across the world.