5G and Health: Insights from CONNECT University Autumn School 2020 Part 1

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5G and Health: Insights from CONNECT University Autumn School 2020 Part 1

5G deployment in hospitals and other medical facilities is still in its early phases but will bring many benefits to the sector. On 1 October 2020, the CONNECT University Autumn School hosted a session on 5G and Health and how it can accelerate change in the sector. Here are the main discussion points from an EC policy perspective and the 5G Health Association. 

Policy Perspectives: Cyril Krykwinski, Project Officer, DG CONNECT E1 Future Connectivity Systems

  • 5G has many user requirements, from enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) to massive machine like communications (mMTC) and ultra reliable low latency communications (URLLC). It will also improve spectrum efficiency, bring faster speeds and enable high-connection density and improved energy efficiency. The COVID-19 pandemic has showed just how essential networks are for business and society. 
  • 5G will bring innovations across a variety of industry verticals: Automotive, broadcasting and media, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, among others. Coverage and density are particularly important for monitoring patients. Quality of Service (QoS) provisioning is essential for supporting the business case in the healthcare sector.
  • The 5G Public Partnership (5G PPP and 5G-IA) is a significant programme on research and innovation on 5G, key technology enablers, use-case experiments across industry verticals and standardisation. 5G-TOURS and 5G-HEART are two examples of funded research and innovtion actions with trials on healthcare. 
  • The 5G EU Observatory tracks 5G rollout across Europe and globally, including allocation of spectrum. 

5G Health Association: Thomas Neumuth, Leipzig University, Medical School

  • 5G Health Association serves as an interface between clinical user needs with limited technology understanding and the telecommunications industry with limited understanding of clinical needs. Join the association at: https://5g-health.org/. 
  • Key drivers for technology-driven innovations in healthcare are the so-called 4Ps: Personalised, predictive, preventive and participatory healthcare provision. 5G is about achieving the 4Ps, including distributed patient-centre care.
  • 5G is the communication technology booster for: Ubiquitous availability of healthcare services, healthcare services available for everyone, anytime, anywhere, combination of best possible clinical knowledge, enhanced efficiencies and personalised approaches. 
  • 5G Health and Medical use cases from forthcoming white paper: Hospital management, supporting clinical departments, post-discharge services, emergency response, individual users and family members, smart pharmaceuticals for drug dosages linked to hospital telemedicine centre for personalised approaches, patient monitoring in and outside wards, emergency hospital set-up (e.g. epidemics), hospital retrofitting, split computing for emergency medical technology. In this case, sensors are transmitted to mobilised resources, which is key to achieving flexibility in emergencies and a new standard can be used for interoperability across medical devices and vendors: ISO/IEEE 11073 SDC - Service-oriented Device Connectivity). 
  • Challenges: No macroeconomic guidelines for 5G deployment, high investment costs for infrastructure and edge devices, discussions about electromagnetic hypersensitivity. 
  • Opportunities: 
    • 5G supports the demands of patients for freedom of choice and comfort access to heatlh services: 
      • Increased flexibility for patients choosing their healthcare providers.
      • More convenient access for patients to healthcare services. 
      • Enabled continuous patient monitoring, e.g. white spots are closed.
    • 5G accelerates the virtualisation of functional healthcare resources:
      • Re-location of health services and infrastructures.
      • Increased resource efficiency.
      • Enabler for distributed real-time AI applications. 
    • 5G increases communication systems flexibility:
      • Superseding hard-wired networks. 
      • Increased flexibility to outmode current wireless networks.
      • Homogenisation of wireless network technologies.


#ConnectUniversity #digitalhealth #5G

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