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ANALYSIS

Patients take control of healthcare with 5G

5G pivotal in healthcare transformation

STOCKHOLM, June 7, 2017

Increasing dependence on wearables and remote healthcare treatments makes 5G essential to provide reliable and secure services, said Ericsson in a new report, which reveals consumer insights on the impact of 5G on the future of healthcare.

Evolving consumer expectations, anytime patient data access, and increased Internet use are also making way for non-traditional players to disrupt the healthcare industry, added Ericsson in its new ConsumerLab report r titled “From Healthcare to Homecare”.

5G: Decentralizing care, centralizing data

The proliferation of machine-type IoT sensor communications poses the challenge of connecting many devices communicating at low-data rates.

For instance, in remote health monitoring, wearable devices – such as heart monitors and glucose monitors, require high frequency updates of the central data repository at low-data rates. Experts say that existing networks cannot provide the desired quality of support while connecting a large number of such devices, and they believe that 5G can address this challenge.

As healthcare becomes more dependent on wearables and connectivity, consumers express concern about reliability. In fact, 59 per cent of consumers say that they are concerned about poor connectivity affecting data transmission.

Battery charging is another issue – 56 per cent of consumers with chronic ailments worry about their health patches suddenly running out of battery. Forty-two per cent of cross-industry decision makers expect devices connected to 5G networks to consume less power, reducing the frequency of recharges.

Telecom operators could enable medical grade devices that connect directly to the internet rather than relying on the patient's own smartphone.

Use of a centralized repository to store patient health records will expose healthcare to data breaches. Forty-seven per cent of telecom decision makers say that developing secure networks to access an online central repository is a key challenge. 5G networks are expected to be secure enough to adhere to sensitive patient data regulations.

Cross-industry decision makers expect 5G to be a key enabler of transformation

In addition, 5G is also expected to significantly improve connectivity. For instance, 35 per cent of cross-industry decision makers expect 5G to provide reliable and sub-1ms latency connections, which enable haptic feedback to underpin surgeons' capabilities to carry out remote robotic surgery.

Providing low latency over long distances is a challenge due to the constraints imposed by the laws of physics. Although fiber can deliver low latency connectivity, experts say 5G would be preferable for availability reasons. While optical fiber is used for backhaul network, 5G is most likely to provide the last mile connectivity which is also mobile. Flexibility in terms of moving equipment around to locations where fiber is not available might be a reason for higher preference for 5G over fiber.

Furthermore, highly-immersive virtual simulations are increasingly used to train healthcare professionals in critical medical procedures, while remote procedures such as robotic surgery will be conducted in a virtual environment. Like haptic feedback, virtual reality demands low-latency and high-bandwidth communication for effective operation. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Healthcare | Ericsson | 5G |

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