5G and digital healthcare for a new and more efficient healthcare model

Communication specialist

5G technology can give comprehensive answers to the growing need for healthcare innovation, which is emerging as one of the areas in which the impact of the digital revolution is particularly disruptive.

Attention to well-being and personal care, due in part to the progressive aging of the population and the spread of chronic diseases, is now having an indisputable influence on the health sector, at least in Western countries.

Digital innovation can be a fundamental strategic lever for a health system in line with the needs and expectations of citizens. In particular, digital services based on the 5G network will improve the level of patient satisfaction and the relationship between the structure and the patient, facilitate communication and access to information and health resources, increase efficiency and the quality of performance.

By monitoring the patient at home, a new and more efficient care model can be built.

Today we are witnessing the progressive trend towards the specialization of central hospitals and, at the same time, the delegation of the management of chronic patients to territorial structures. The role of digital technologies therefore becomes fundamental to support the improvement and innovation of the health system. Harnessing the innovative potential of technologies to extend the reach and reliability of remote monitoring and telemedicine is the foundation of the healthcare of the future.

The healthcare sector is generating a growing demand for technologically advanced solutions for both public and private structures. The main objective is to control the massive growth of health expenditure. One wonders how much digital could do to reduce this waste.

The answer lies again in telemedicine, thanks to which it is possible to monitor the patient remotely through sensors and specific applications on smartphones and devices: a way to limit the periods of hospitalization, especially for chronic patients, with the double advantage of reducing healthcare system costs and allowing the patient to be monitored without leaving their home.

Remote surgical operations with 5G.

New digital and IT technologies can do even more once the 5G infrastructure is developed. Today, with video communication, the doctors of a smaller or decentralized hospital can hold high definition video sessions with specialists from other hospitals for a second opinion or a consultation regarding the problems of a specific patient. But, thanks to the 5G networks, it will be possible to aim to perform even complex operations at a distance, involving a team of doctors who work in different hospitals, even very far away.

The low latencies and safety levels of 5G are an important component. But not the only one because the new networks may also be malleable according to the type of services being transported, according to the logic of slicing, i.e. dynamic reconfiguration based on the needs of the specific service or application being transported. Returning to remote surgery, it must be ensured that for the entire duration of the operation and along the entire network on which the information travels, even if it passes through different nations, priority is given to moving images of very high definition and to keeping a very low latency, necessary to move the surgical tools millimetrically and to act with absolute precision. A technically very advanced context achievable thanks to a dedicated network slice in which all the components involved coordinate to give the same support to mission critical situations.

To achieve this scenario, the farsightedness of structural investments is indispensable. The promises of telemedicine can only be achieved by newly developed systems and solutions. Adopting high-speed communication infrastructures responds to the need of also enabling the modernization of healthcare towards telemedicine and remote diagnosis models.

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