One way or another, access to 5G data speeds will transform the majority of industries.

Telco experts say the latest technology can handle 1,000 times more traffic and that it’s 10 times as fast as 4G. That’s like downloading an HD movie to your cell phone in less than a second. So, what can this awesome new network do for the healthcare industry?

1. Increased Reliability for Time-Sensitive Results

Patients expect instantaneous service and want processes to be completed faster – not having to wait in the doctor’s surgery all day, for instance – and 5G can help. MRI scans produce very large files that can take an age to upload, if they load at all. By using 5G, requesting and receiving MRI scans could happen virtually instantaneously. As soon as the patient leaves the scanner, the study could already be on its way.

2. Better Patient Experiences Through 5G VR, AR and Mixed Reality

Using 5G can improve support for voice and video inputs, giving healthcare another layer of information to help enhance care. It also enables the use of virtual, augmented and mixed reality, allowing some therapies to be carried out at home. For instance, virtual reality can help those suffering from alcohol abuse by putting them in virtual situations where they can say “no” to a drink. This self-care refusal helps patients keep their urges in check. Mixed reality also can help with surgical planning and simulation, helping patients get mentally ready for real-world procedures.

3. Remote Monitoring for Rural Areas

Patients won’t have to travel long distances to get the care they need, either. Whether they use data-intensive video chat (telemedicine) or monitor patients remotely via smart devices, healthcare providers will benefit from 5G’s high-reliability, low-latency nature. Online consultations increase transparency, attendance rates and provide care at levels comparable to face-to-face visits.

4. Autonomous Driving for Doctor Visits

When it comes to doctors’ appointments, the rate of “no shows” can be as high as 30% because of a lack of reliable transportation. To improve attendance rates and improve public health, the use of 5G in support of autonomous driving is a massive step in the right direction. In addition, 5G can handle the necessary computational workloads that support autonomous driving like: optimal routing, maintenance, patient engagement or entertainment and communications. Autonomous driving would also improve patient safety between home and the surgery.

5. Delivering Data… Fast

The 5G network is better suited to support of the internet of medical things (IoMT) devices, including devices that connect patients with providers for real-time monitoring and data collection via the cloud. Access to 5G data speeds will allow patient information to be collected faster and enable advanced analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities. As healthcare represents around 30% of the world’s data (and is always growing), unlocking insights from this enormous amount of data can move the industry towards more personalized and proactive care. By combining real-time data from wearable tech with other data known to impact health, providers can predict when issues are likely to occur before they actually happen. For example, for a patient with chronic illness and the potential to decline quickly, having a proactive way to monitor health could be a lifesaver.

The healthcare industry is slow to change, but access to 5G data speeds could be the push needed to help the industry thrive in our fast-paced digital world. Having a 5G network provides the infrastructure needed to connect smart devices, enable new ways of providing interactive care and improve the patient experience.

Want to learn more? Click here to connect with us and see what our experts have to say about the benefits of 5G in healthcare, and how you should prepare for it.

Gianni Piccininni
VP & Managing Director of HCLS