It is predicted that 5G – which provides data transfer at high speed with low latency – will cause revolutionary changes in many industries. It seems that the improved connection speed is also going to redefine the doctor-patient relationship.
Technology that develops rapidly and affects every field has brought healthcare services to a new level. For example, people can remotely transmit sensitive data about their health condition to the relevant health institutions with wearable medical measuring devices without going to the hospital. In this way, doctors monitor and regulate the treatment processes of their patients remotely.
However, with 5G becoming the standard, much more important developments are expected in the field of healthcare services. Aware of the need to keep up with these developments, the Medical Association of America issued a statement in November 2018, advocating the need to provide wireless internet access that enables high data transfer to regions with low connectivity. The disruption of digital health services in areas with no or insufficient internet access is an important obstacle that needs to be overcome. So, what kind of innovations does 5G offer in the field of healthcare?
Electronic information and communication technologies that eliminate the distance between the patient and the doctor will be taken to a new level with 5G. The fact that the Internet operates with higher bandwidth and lower latency will speed up critical processes in the field of telemedicine. For example, hospital and off-site devices will be connected to each other to support remote monitoring of the patient. Data from measuring devices with large files such as MR and MRI will be downloaded much faster. Minimizing the delay in video calls – which are frequently used in the field of telemedicine – stands out as another benefit of 5G.
5G technology will provide a personalized healthcare opportunity for people to better manage their health and medical conditions. Practitioners aim to develop preventive treatment methods about how people should protect their health. Currently, patients can be observed with wearable technologies and a treatment based on these measurements is possible. However, it is known that with the speed of 4G, these devices cannot demonstrate their full potential. The connection speed provided by 5G will provide the Internet of Things (IoT) technology with an unprecedented communication capacity level, while ensuring that the data needed for preventive treatment methods is obtained faster.
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies will expand their usage area in the field of healthcare services with the effect of 5G. High image quality and wireless connectivity with low or no lag will enhance remote surgery. Using 5G technology in a test conducted in China, the surgeon performed a surgical intervention on an animal by controlling the robotic arm from 50 km away. This test, which is the world's first remote-controlled surgical intervention, shows that doctors can make vital decisions in the shortest time possible and with the most accurate information, with virtually no delay time and with a high-quality image.
There are countless innovations that will emerge with the standardization of 5G technology. All technologies used in healthcare, including artificial intelligence, Big Data, IoT, remote monitoring, and robotic intervention will be taken to the next level with the renewal of 5G.