Dr Natalia Jimenez
Life Sciences Centre of Excellence, Director, Atos
Enabling hospitals without walls
5G will accelerate the digital transformation of healthcare along the patient journey, from early diagnosis to treatment in hospitals and remotely.
With healthcare providers working harder than ever to meet unprecedented demand, shifting care from hospitals to alternative settings helps relieve pressure on resources while improving patients’ experiences. And with access to more data, clinicians can better predict and treat illness.
Here’s where 5G can help. In some cases, it will offer significant improvements in speed and capacity that will drive digital transformation; in other cases, applications will be simply impossible without it. Many hospitals will introduce private campus 5G in the coming years because it is much more flexible than wired networks and significantly more robust and quality-controlled than WiFi. 5G will play a key role in unleashing the power of data to give clinicians new insights, connect patients to the right health and social care, and help ensure that systems run efficiently. In fact, when reimagining digitally enabled healthcare, the possibilities are endless.
Aiding early diagnosis and remote care
New models of remote care
As well as enabling more virtual high-definition consultations, 5G will facilitate new avenues for remote care and ensure rapid response to life-threatening conditions. For a patient identified at risk of a stroke, a device within a car headrest could monitor them and, if needed, alert a healthcare provider or paramedic who could arrive fast already armed with the patient’s full medical history. Severe asthma is another example: Atos has filed a patent with an AI methodology to manage patients with asthma. The system sends recommendations that will keep the patients safe from worsening their condition. Using 5G and computer vision capabilities, we’re developing an app for monitoring patients with dementia in nursery homes; anomalous movements such as night wandering can be detected remotely so that they can get the right help immediately.
Early diagnosis and monitoring
Monitoring patients over time can aid early diagnosis, for example, for certain types of arrhythmia that can be very difficult to capture within a fixed appointment. 5G can help with remote monitoring of existing conditions/diseases such as cardiovascular conditions, respiratory illnesses, and diabetes. Electronic cardiograms could be carried out in real time via a t-shirt, and the data uploaded to a digital platform for analysis and research.
5G remote access to a patient’s medical imaging and other records, combined with AI, will facilitate diagnosis and clinical decision-making. Conversely, high-resolution photos can be uploaded and subjected to diagnostic expert systems in real time.
Digitally enabled emergency care
Advanced, connected networks will enable emergency response vehicles and teams to be connected for remote consultation and accelerated care team collaboration.
Looking after patients in hospital
Improving patient flow
With 5G bandwidth and video analytics at the edge, hospitals will have insights into the patient flow around the hospital for planning, queue management, digital way-finding, and patient apps; and they can better address accessibility challenges associated with permanent, temporary, or situation disability. Video analytics could also immediately identify if someone needs help.
Integrated patient records and clinical communications
The ability to transmit and integrate high volumes of data, including patient records, results, digital imagery, will transform the availability of data for use along the care pathway. Orchestration of more data will enable increased use of AI and automation to better research, understand, diagnose and treat illness.
Mobile devices and automation
Higher capacity and bandwidth will enable much wider use of mobile apps, devices, and sensors, all integrated with electronic patient records. Hospital teams will have more access to intelligent tools for information capture and decision support anywhere, anytime. The use of robotics for patient care will also increase with higher capacity and bandwidth; examples include robotic assistants in care (in a hospital or at home) and advancing the use of robotics in surgical theaters.
Digitally assisted procedures
The ability to deploy augmented and virtual reality systems, in combination with automation, will support complex surgeries, help to replace highly invasive procedures, and enable surgeons to carry out operations remotely.