Faster connection speeds are transforming the doctor/patient relationship, integrating electronic communications into medical care. From the comfort of their homes, patients wear remote medical sensors, transmitting their vital signs to health care providers. This data allows doctors and caregivers to monitor an array of vitals, dynamically manage treatment plans, and conduct a consult or intervention over webcam. The arrival of 5G networks will take this recent medical trend to the next level and provide a significant economic boost to the medical community. According to IHS Markit, 5G will enable more than $1 trillion dollars in products and services for the global health care sector.
How will this affect you? 5G represents a whole new way you’ll accomplish digital networking and is likely to upgrade your health care experiences. It’ll help you maintain your wellness through three primary areas of capabilities: Massive Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), and mission critical services. All three will come together, delivering a holistic, personalized view of the patient anytime and anywhere.
To gain greater insights into how 5G will affect the health care sector, we again worked with Dr. David Teece, Professor at Haas School of Business, U.C. Berkeley and Chairman and Principal Executive Officer of Berkeley Research Group, on a paper, “5G Mobile: Impact on the Health Care Sector”. Qualcomm Technologies Inc. (QTI) commissioned this report to assess 5G’s potential impact on the evolving health care sector as it begins a shift in focus from volume-based health care to value-based (outcome-based) health care which could generate upwards of $650 billion in savings by 2025, according to Goldman Sachs.
Massive IoT relates to the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) ecosystem that will encompass millions and eventually, perhaps billions of low-energy, low-bit rate, connected medical and health-monitoring devices, clinical wearables, and remote sensors. Doctors will rely on these instruments to continually capture, collect, and electronically receive patient medical data such as vital signs, physical activity, and even if they’re taking their prescribed medication. This data will be received in near real-time by health care providers, allowing them to efficiently administer or adjust treatment. Further, the data supports predictive analytics, allowing doctors to increase their accuracy of diagnoses by detecting emerging health patterns much faster. The IoT/IoMT field is expected to grow as the patient-monitoring wearable market, which includes remote and on-site devices, expands from 8 million shipments (from last year) to 33 million in 20211. Additionally, annual global IoT in health care revenues are expected to pass $27 billion by 20252.
As patient demand continues to surge, medical sensors continue to improve. This year’s winning entry in the Qualcomm Tricorder XPrize medical device competition boldly went where no sensor had gone before by diagnosing and interpreting 13 health conditions. The entry included a sensor that fits into the palm of your hand and is as user-friendly as your smartphone, enabling patients to easily measure their health at home. This was a major advancement, but one sensor alone really isn’t enough. The combination of numerous patient IoMT devices and sensors helps doctors provide a complete health picture for their patients, leading to a personalized health treatment program.
Alternatively, those without any medical issues can simply leverage IoMT devices to help them monitor their diets and fitness regimes, leading them to live healthier lives.
If you don’t like visiting your doctor, that’s fine, because soon your doctor may visit you. Well, virtually that is. 5G is expected to usher in a new age of greatly enhanced eMBB data rates and hyper connectivity, which will allow doctors to study and analyze numerous patient medical data feeds simultaneously and provide personalized treatment for patients.
eMBB can also support personalized health care applications and immersive experiences such as virtual reality (VR) and live video streaming. These tools will be used by doctors residing in bedless hospitals to administer remote, virtual care to patients via 3D/UHD video telepresence or UHD video streaming. This service should remove the time and distance barrier for patients in rural areas, allowing for better care where medical expertise is hard to come by.
But it’s not just about treatment, 5G could also support training. QTI is producing a medical VR experience to train medical students on the physiology and diagnosis of stroke, using VR to enable medical students to walk a virtual pace through a stroke exam. Similar medical training tools could be developed in the future by leveraging 5G.
5G will enable how devices and networks communicate and protect mission-critical messages, allowing doctors to deliver remote health care. The 5G New Radio unified air interface is designed to deliver deep, redundant coverage and high system availability to connect medical sensors across multiple network nodes. This boosts reliability (1 out of 100 million packets lost), minimize latency (as low as one millisecond), and ensure that critical transmissions, such as medical emergencies, can be prioritized over other transmissions.
For example, a recent heart attack victim’s 5G IoMT sensors could quickly transmit a distress signal and vital signs over the network to a nearby hospital, ensuring the rapid response of EMTs to administer care. Failure is not an option in this scenario as losing connectivity could result in serious consequences.
The 5G ecosystem also offers strong security solutions, such as the seamless and secure sharing of biometric data, to ensure that patient-sensitive data is safeguarded from exposure and risk.
Our leadership in 3G and 4G technologies has connected billions of people around the world and serves as a springboard to our pioneering efforts in 5G, as our solutions deliver multi-gigabit-per-second data rates with ultra-low latency and ubiquitous coverage in support of IoMT, eMBB, and mission critical services.
Qualcomm Life, Inc. is providing an early glimpse of 5G medical experiences with 2net, connecting patients and health care providers with next-generation mobile health care solutions. The 2net Platform, 2net Hub, and 2net Mobile software module power intelligent care by providing wireless connectivity and enhanced interoperability for the reliable sharing and management of medical device data from various health care devices including health care-centric wearables. This allows biometric sensor data to be reliably captured, aggregated and seamlessly transmitted to the cloud for integration with virtually any system, application or portal for continuous monitoring from anywhere, anytime.
Doctors, hospitals and other care organizations subscribe to 2net because it allows them to prescribe a myriad of sensors and devices designed for near real-time data capture in patients’ homes and provide personalized care. Patients appreciate 2net because it allows them the comfort and convenience of monitoring their health from home while also being very cost efficient.
Authored by Rick Valencia