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What Are the Use Cases of 5G in Healthcare?
5G is designed to increase transmission speed and network capacity and greatly reduce latency. These advanced capabilities have huge potential in healthcare with the following applications:
- Remote surgery
- Transferring large medical files
- Inventory and equipment tracking
- Real-time remote monitoring of patients
5G is a leap forward in cellular communication that offers much more than faster download speeds and better coverage. Much like how the internet paved the way for eCommerce, 5G enables new healthcare technologies that were previously impossible due to network limitations.
Today, 5G powers hospital campuses with thousands of patients and staff at close to 100 times the speed of 4G. These improvements have made new technology like remote surgery and augmented reality possible.
Let’s explore why 5G is suited for healthcare applications and dig into some of the specific benefits healthcare providers can expect.
Why Is 5G Best for Healthcare?
When lives are on the line and every second matters, 5G offers the speed, reliability, and capacity hospitals need to operate at the highest levels. The term 5G stands for fifth generation, which is a series of specifications that outline the requirements for that signal.
These specifications include the following:
- One-millisecond latency - Augmented reality, health sensor monitors, real-time data collection.
- 10 Gbps data rate - Transferring large files and patient health history quickly.
- 99.999% availability - High availability for life-saving devices
- 90% reduction in network energy consumption - Reduces network costs over time
- Ten-year battery life for low power devices - Long lasting mobile health sensors
- Supports one million devices per square kilometer - Ample support for the largest campuses
Healthcare facilities leverage these new performance benefits to monitor patients more closely, securely collect and store health metrics, track inventory, and assist doctors in surgery. These benefits can easily extend to other departments by offering proactive maintenance alerts on machines and enabling high-definition live streams for security personnel.
One of the biggest benefits often not talked about is the ability to own your own private 5G network. This gives hospitals complete control of their network's data, cellular resources, and service levels across their network.
Below we’ll explore the differences between private and public 5G networks and why this difference matters, especially in healthcare.
Private 5G vs. Commercial 5G: Why It Matters in Healthcare
In the past, healthcare facilities would have to rely on commercial carriers to provide their 5G service. These big-name carriers offer their services as a “one-size-fits-all” model, leaving healthcare providers wanting more.
For example, many 5G plans carry high data overage fees that can skyrocket your monthly bill during high usage times. Even worse, some carriers offer “unlimited” 5G service but slow your speeds to a crawl when you’ve used too much data.
As you can imagine, this can be disastrous when healthcare applications and medical devices rely on these networks to operate. Commercial solutions also fail to identify internal healthcare devices. This means administrators cannot easily allocate resources or integrate their services at an application level. Until recently, complex technology and expensive equipment have kept hospitals from building their own 5G networks.
Today private 5G offers healthcare providers a simplified way to access the power of 5G without having to rely on commercial networks or hire cellular experts. This allows hospitals to maintain HIPAA compliance, easily control their budget, and guarantee the availability of certain healthcare applications and devices.
Companies like Celona develop hospital-ready 5G solutions designed to work with your existing network that can be up and running in under a day.
5G Healthcare Use Cases
While 5G can be used in a number of different industries, let’s explore how private 5G can directly benefit healthcare providers.
The need for telemedicine has only accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, requiring hospitals to quickly adapt to meet patient demand. Fast and reliable 5G connections allow doctors to care for patients who are within the safety of their homes.
Telehealth applications continue to play a vital role in reducing patient and doctor exposure to COVID-19 and other illnesses by minimizing in-person visits. 5G connections allow doctors to communicate reliably with their patients and use high-definition streaming video to diagnose ailments.
Transferring Larger Medical Files
MRIs, X-rays, and CT scans can generate massive image files that require processing and storage. A set of CT scan data can range from 20 to 30 gigabytes in size, leaving wireless networks congested with file transfer queues.
5G allows healthcare providers to untether from Ethernet and quickly download these files to your healthcare system in mere seconds. Celona takes this a step further by offering MicroSlicing, which enables administrators to set specific latency and throughput requirements for each medical application.
Once set, the network continuously monitors and changes traffic conditions to ensure your service-level agreements are always met.
Inventory and Equipment Tracking
5G networks support the capacity and coverage to track thousands of devices across multiple campuses. Hospitals use this technology to locate the nearest life-saving devices and track where mobile equipment is currently stationed throughout the campus.
Real-Time Remote Health Monitoring
Doctors rely on heath sensors to monitor their most critical patients’ statuses throughout the day. 5G networks can support thousands of these devices with ultra-low-latency connections. This allows hospitals to see changes in patients faster and collect a stream of live health data for analysis and storage.
Augmented Reality Healthcare
Augmented reality requires high data rates, low latency, and considerable bandwidth to generate live graphics. Advancements in 5G have made technologies like mobile AR possible and give users a seamless lag-free experience. AR can aid doctors in medical procedures, help nurses find veins, and even educate medical students on complex operations.
The Celona Solution
Celona's seamless turnkey solution for private 5G LANs come with plug-and-play cellular access points that can be quickly deployed throughout the enterprise facility, while proactive monitoring ensures network service-level agreements, such as throughput and latency requirements, are consistently being met.
Celona uses cloud networking principles to make private 5G deployments an out-of-box experience. Onboarding can be done alongside existing wireless and IT infrastructure, without interrupting business operations.
If you’re looking to build cellular wireless connectivity for your new digital initiatives, we can help. Check out our network planner to estimate the size of your network, and test-drive the Celona 5G LAN solution with a product demo or free trial.