Demand for widely available, high-quality healthcare services has never been higher. Recent years have seen healthcare organizations fast-track their adoption of biosensors, robotics, telehealth systems, health apps, and electronic health records, taking advantage of virtual reality, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, and cloud computing. Enabling these technologies, 5G has made an immense contribution, with a host of valuable innovations already integrated into healthcare settings.
5G represents a huge leap for both cellular technology and healthcare by providing the connectivity for a new health ecosystem that can meet the needs of patients and providers accurately, efficiently, cost-effectively, conveniently, and at a substantial scale. MarketandMarket Research predicts that the 5G healthcare market will be worth USD 3,667 million by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 76.3% from an estimated USD 215 million in 2021.
China Mobile 5G and the pandemic response
The unprecedented emergency caused by the global outbreak of COVID-19 spurred China Mobile to rise to the challenge and rapidly expand applications for 5G in healthcare environments. The value of 5G livestreaming and video monitoring was the most intuitive application of 5G in the early days of the pandemic, as healthcare workers bravely faced a novel infectious disease.
5G empowers healthcare professionals to be where they are needed most
Professor Zhong Nanshan of the Chinese Academy of Engineering was the first to conduct remote consultations for severe COVID-19 patients, using China Mobile’s Cloud video streaming system to connect to frontline doctors in Yuxi, Yunnan from his clinic in Beijing, 2,500 kilometers away.
Medical specialists based in China’s larger cities were able to connect with dozens of remote hospitals through China Mobile’s Cloud video streaming platform, providing ‘face-to-face’ high-definition guidance to clinical staff and timely support for suspected coronavirus cases without travelling long distances.
These consultations were further enhanced by using wearable devices connected to a 5G wireless network, which allowed medical staff to monitor the vital physiological indicators of patients in temporary field hospitals.
China Mobile’s 5G Remote Consultation Cart was the first of its kind in the country. The portable 5G telemedicine system brought video connections to the ward to allow on-site staff and remote experts to collaborate for multi-party, multi-disciplinary joint consultations and provide faster and more efficient diagnoses.
China Mobile and CloudMinds jointly donated two 5G Cloud-based Intelligent Robots to hospitals in China. Powered by China Mobile’s fast, flexible, and secure 5G networks, the robots support isolation protocols and help reduce the risk of cross-infection by aiding medical personnel during consultations and by working autonomously to provide cleaning and delivery services.
Furthermore, the reception desk is often the busiest and most crowded area in hospitals. 5G Cloud-based Intelligent Robots can relieve the workload of reception staff by providing coronavirus prevention knowledge to patients. The robots work alongside their human colleagues to provide temperature measurement, medication delivery, and other smart medical care services, as well as disinfection, cleaning, and medical waste disposal.
Infection control guardians
Installing a 5G infrared body temperature measurement device is like having a tireless robot guardian who never misses a patient or temperature spike, yet never needs a break.
To help communities reduce infection risk, China Mobile developed a 5G rapid thermal imaging temperature screening system that can batch screen temperatures remotely. Highly accurate and able to record video for documentation and revisit past temperature records, it plays an important role in enforcing temporary control of entrances and exits at transportation hubs, supermarkets, schools, government buildings, and business districts.
China Mobile International (CMI), as a subsidiary of China Mobile, has extended its pandemic-related solutions to other markets in the Asia-Pacific region. Its thermal graphic body temperature monitoring equipment has been adopted in numerous locations by government facilities and retailers across Australia, Singapore and Thailand. CMI offers customers support for our solutions from shipment through deployment.
"5G + Emergency First Aid" speeds up emergency care
Since late 2020, China Mobile’s “5G + Emergency First Aid" System has been helping provide potentially life-saving care to people on the way to hospital with chest pain, stroke, and other traumas.
Leveraging China Mobile’s large 5G bandwidth, low latency, and robust network, China Mobile’s "5G + Emergency First Aid" System uses an integrated information platform and intelligent equipment installed in ambulances to provide life-saving procedures for critical condition patients in transit.
When a 5G-enabled ambulance arrives at the scene, the onboard team collect the patient’s history and measure their vital signs. Data will be transmitted to the hospital in real time via a 5G network to help ensure more accurate diagnosis and log patient information into the hospital emergency system before their arrival.
The “5G + Emergency First Aid" ambulance also supports multi-channel high-definition live video so that medical staff at the emergency command and dispatch center can video call the ambulance. If needed, the hospital doctors can conduct a video consultation and instruct ambulance staff on emergency treatment while the patient travels to hospital.
5G becomes essential infrastructure in our daily lives
Within just a short time, 5G has become an invisible helping hand that has made immense contributions to healthcare. By improving communications and enabling remote healthcare consultations, 5G is helping to improve patient outcomes and to protect and support healthcare workers. Already embraced as a reliable part of healthcare infrastructure, 5G will also play an important role in future disaster relief efforts by introducing video communication to allow emergency operations centers to provide remote guidance to those on the frontlines of the disaster.
China Mobile is responding to this need by fast-forwarding the construction and development of 5G networks and data centers. Our journey with 5G has just begun, but the technology has already clearly demonstrated its potential to improve many aspects of everyday life.