Technology is having a huge impact on the advancement of healthcare in the US. With more and more products and services using tech to improve the wellbeing of patients and improving overall care, digital healthcare is making strides unlike anything previously seen in the industry.
But one factor that is going to have one of the biggest impacts of them all is 5G telecommunications networks.
5G is shaping up to bring a whole new level of innovation and better outcomes in the healthcare sector. From providing faster communications at lower latencies to increasing patient-centred empowerment, 5G promises to fulfil its role of providing a better, more robust infrastructure.
Here are some reasons to explain how 5G is revolutionizing healthcare.
Disrupting Traditional Healthcare
Traditional healthcare in the US lags behind other industries, especially when it comes to bringing in new technology or upgrading existing systems to modern standards. This is mainly due to healthcare’s legacy systems being unable to cope with new demands, as well as dealing with all sorts of regulations set by the governing bodies.
But all this is going to change and 5G is driving it.
5G is going to bring high-speed communications to the table, allowing new companies, from pharma to medical tech, to infiltrate the markets, develop a presence that would otherwise typically wane and develop relationships and partnerships. As a result, both patients and medical professionals stand to benefit.
5G is already having an impact in this regards abroad. For example, in Finland, OuluHealth has a mission to improve the healthcare sector at a global level. OuluHealth uses 5G technology to explore cutting edge innovations and advanced communication within the hospital environment. The network itself was established back in 2012 and has gone on to become one of the leading health innovation ecosystems in Europe, containing more than 600 companies using high-tech services.
The Age Of Innovation
Healthcare innovation has been driven by science and technology since the dawn of time. Going back to the 1800s, public health and the germ theory of disease was revolutionary and we have been advancing non-stop ever since.
Over 100 years later, in the 1920s, penicillin was discovered, transforming the way we used medication for treating disease. As we get to the 1970s, we started a process known as randomized controlled trials (RCT) which began the era of evidence-based medicine.
As we approach 2020, the biggest changes to the healthcare industry will come from digital services. Big data and AI are buzzwords used through pretty much all industries in the modern world. Nevertheless, they will have a big role to play going forward and are advancing our understanding of healthcare as a whole.
Consulting firm McKinsey and Company issued a report looking into how big data and AI will drive a revolution in healthcare. The report shows that data-driven technologies have the potential to reduce medical costs in the United States alone by as much as $175 billion to $220 billion annually.
By 2020 alone, it’s estimated that healthcare alone will produce 2,314 exabytes of data, even as AI systems digest increasingly larger datasets.
Now, for previous technology and 4G networks, computing and communicating the information between systems, this would have been a big issue. But in the case of 5G networks, data movement can be accelerated for quicker than ever before, reducing networks and expanding data transfer rates.
Further, 5G opens the door for “digital therapeutics,” giving patients the opportunity to get the care they need from the comfort of their own home through their smartphone or other device. VR and AR are also newer technologies that could facilitate the revolution.
This is because 5G enables medical professionals and expert to access the right data quickly, while also being able to provide quality care to their patients, from diagnosis to treatments.
Better Quality Of Life
The elderly are another demographic that will see their overall quality of life improve thanks to 5G technologies. The number of ageing people increasing across the globe is a major driving force behind the transformation of such healthcare technologies.
We are already seeing devices like wearable devices and at-home testing services on the market, giving people the chance to take control of their healthcare and improve efficiency. Even Bluetooth is having an impact, which, according to Orthogonal, is powering the next-generation of IoE technologies.
For example, in the case of wearable technology, elderly patients can use AI-powered services to monitor their biometric data. This enables them to analyze results and check for inconsistencies, such as mobility issues or sudden falls. Combine this with 5G and large datasets can be sent quickly to their doctor or medical professional quickly for further analysis if it’s required.
In the case of mobile health, according to Healthcare Weekly, faster networks can allow telemedicine apps to reach their full potential.
So, overall, the shift towards mobile health, wearables, etc is giving patients valuable, preventative measures to manage their own health.
The Power Of Data And 5G
While there is still a lot of work to be done, the future of healthcare is an exciting prospect. From drug manufacturing and product innovation to doctors on the hospital floors, everyone is going to benefit from newer technology and personalized care.
Wearable technology is driving the movement for a preventive and value-based shift, giving patients the power to manage their own healthcare outcomes. The growth of the telemedicine and telehealth app industries will enable doctors to reach and treat their patients virtually, outside of traditional facilities, while also giving them a better, more personalized level of care.
Even in a more serious case, with the combination of online diagnostic tools and genetic sequencing services, healthtech innovation holds the promise for supporting better informed and engaged patients.
But the one thing that is behind them all is the power of data and 5G. Knowledge is power, but in healthcare, power comes from data. And with the promise of data transforming medicine, tailored care brings an entirely new challenge in the way we understand the nature of health and healing.