How 5G can benefit healthcare

4G already plays a role in healthcare and the emergency services network, but 5G digital connectivity has the potential to enhance this even further. In this article, Mobile UK explores the key benefits of 5G in these areas…

An early warning system for your health

With the World Health Organisation stating that 80% of premature heart attacks and strokes are preventable, wearables are a key way to check and control risk factors for heart disease and stroke such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar. 5G technology can instantaneously transmit these readings to be examined by doctors and nurses, even when they are many miles away.

A doctor in your living room

Covid-19 has seen video-calling explode as a method of communication with colleagues, friends and family. The same technology is being increasingly used for doctor/patient interactions. With 5G providing better video quality and a more reliable connection, it's now possible for a wider variety of consultations to happen in this way. With 5G, patients will have quicker access to healthcare – and doctors will be able to see more patients.

Better access to the healthcare system

5G-connected drones could help deliver medical supplies, getting essential medicines to patients in need more quickly. Equally, some types of surgery can only be performed by certain specialists in certain hospitals in certain parts of the country. But remote surgery – where a specialist surgeon operates in a separate location from the patient – can happen with 5G-connected equipment.

Connecting ambulances with doctors and hospitals

5G will further enhance the capabilities of existing 4G-enabled health technology which allows ambulance crews to instantly transmit life-saving details about a patient’s condition to awaiting emergency departments. 5G will enable high-definition uninterrupted video calls, assisting doctors to prescribe urgent treatment as ambulances make their journey to hospital. Information, from ultrasound images and blood pressure readings, to heart rate and body temperature, can be sent to doctors ahead of a patient’s arrival. This technology is not hypothetical – O2 and Vodafone have started trialling 5G “smart ambulances” in the East of England and Milan.

A handheld police helicopter

5G-enabled drones will improve the abilities of 4G drones, surveying large areas from the sky and enhancing the images that are relayed to a handheld device carried by a police officer on the ground. The drone can provide thermal imaging to track down a crime suspect on the run, or stream live footage to help with effective control of large crowds. These drones will do some things that police helicopters do, but at less cost.

More quickly identifying an unfolding emergency

Bristol harbour installed thermal cameras specifically designed to alert the authorities when people fall into the water. The technology was implemented after ten people tragically died in drowning accidents in the city in one year alone. The thermal cameras pick up when a person breaks a virtual barrier at the harbour edge – the council control centre is notified via 5G technology and the local fire and rescue is subsequently called out if required. The lives of two people have already been saved by the technology.

Bringing the emergency control room closer to the front line

Emergency control rooms take 999 calls from the public and trigger the emergency services to respond. With 5G-enhanced video links at the scene of an emergency, the control room can see what is happening in real time and with more clarity than 4G – including the precise positions of all emergency personnel. Augmented reality can help response teams provide information in difficult environments, such as helping firefighters navigate smoke filled environments. Not only this, but the digital evidence collected at the scene of an emergency can be automatically and immediately uploaded to internal servers, reducing red tape and saving even more time through 5G than the speed possible with 4G.

Find out more about the benefits of 5G by visiting Mobile UK's website

Visit our Be 5G Smart campaign page to find out more about 5G and watch our animation!