The development of 5G networks is still underway and the healthcare industry is in the early stages of exploring how to take advantage of the technology while it continues to evolve into the digital landscape. The backing of 5G networks means that healthcare can improve access to patient care and overall patient experiences, while saving costs whenever and wherever possible.
According to eMarketer, this year 5G is expected to bring annual global cost savings of $600 million to the healthcare industry. By 2030, we can expect to see an annual global cost savings reaching nearly $94 billion!
What is 5G?
5G is the “5th generation” mobile network that enables a new kind of network designed to connect everyone virtually. There are numerous benefits of 5G wireless technology. 5G networks have the power to “deliver higher multi-Gbps peak data speeds, ultra-low latency, more reliability, massive network capacity, increased availability, and a more uniform user experience to more users” – a combination that allows new user experiences and connects new industries.
New technologies can’t persist if there isn’t a network that can support mass usage. With the expansion of telehealth, expedited astronomically by the COVID-19 pandemic, a growing number of patients are able to receive healthcare via remote patient monitoring, where time, costs, and barriers are reduced. However, more patients using telehealth services leads to overcrowding and slower network speeds, and ultimately can impact patient outcomes.
Where 5G Can Help Healthcare
AT&T Business Editorial Team broke down 5 ways 5G networks will transform healthcare.
1. 5G Will Enable Large Imaging Files to Transport Faster Than Ever
Think about large, complex imaging machines like MRIs. These machines hold large files that require review by specialists. Right now, these machines operate on networks with low bandwidth and transmissions can take a long time or sometimes, fail altogether. This lag causes delays in when patients receive the proper care they need, and physicians see fewer patients over longer periods of time.
5G networks will allow for large data files of medical images to be quickly and reliably transported, thus improving time and quality of care.
2. If Telemedicine is Here to Stay, 5G is a Must
Like mentioned earlier, telemedicine services went into full swing at the height of COVID-19 and allow more patients to receive healthcare from the comfort and convenience of their own homes. Telemedicine services, however, require a network that will support mass amounts of patients accessing high-quality video engagement with providers.
5G will allow healthcare systems to use mobile networks to manage telemedicine services, ensuring patients are treated timely and that access to specialists is an option. Providers will also benefit as they will be able conveniently and effectively collaborate with colleagues, near and far.
3. 5G Will Improve AR and VR Technologies
Augmented and virtual realities are slowly being adopted by the healthcare system, but their uses are limited by slow networks. Eventually, 5G will be able to boost the way a provider provides treatment, especially to critically ill patients. For example, 5G can support AR and VR technologies that are meant to provide soothing content to patients who are terminally ill.
4. 5G Will Improve Real-Time Remote Patient Monitoring
The use of various digital devices allow providers to gather large amounts of patient data to offer tailored, personalized and preventive patient care. Not only do these devices, like wearables, encourage patient engagement with their own health, they also reduce healthcare’s financial costs.
5G will allow providers to make quick, real-time decisions for their patients, as the networks permit enormous amounts of patient data to be stored and collected over time.
5. 5G Will Open the Door to Provide Better Care via AI Tools
Like AR and VR technology, artificial intelligence is a tool the healthcare industry is continuing to explore and experiment with. Use cases for this technology include, diagnosing, treating, and predicting which patients may be high-risk for post-op complications.
AI tools require the reliability of a 5G network to assist healthcare systems in providing the best care possible to their patients, whether that be in a hospital setting or a clinical setting.
As we continue to see 5G become more of a reality, healthcare will benefit tremendously from the high speeds for greater connectivity and data storing and transmission, and providers and patients will be better equipped to give and receive the best patient care possible.