5G IN ACTION: TELEMEDICINE

Where has 5G been deployed to enable telemedicine?

As part of the West Midlands 5G programme, 5G-powered diagnostic tools are being used to help GPs across the region deliver virtual ward rounds. This not only enables GPs to respond quickly to identified issues and reduce unnecessary hospital visits, it has also offered residents minimal exposure to COVID-19.

The Liverpool 5G Create project is deploying 5G-powered solutions to enable remote diagnosis of care home residents. Optical techniques are being used to detect infections in urine and transmit ultra-high resolution images to GP surgeries for analysis.  The project is also using 5G to deploy a pressure ulcer management system where Artificial Intelligence (AI) imaging techniques and emerging camera technologies categorise pressure ulcers remotely and send high-quality images to practitioners for diagnosis.

A range of home diagnostic devices are being developed across the globe, giving people at-home access to tools used by doctors during in-surgery exams. One of the closest to market is Tyto, which is a handheld device that can capture and record a patient’s heartbeat and breath sounds. The built-in camera can take high resolution photos of skin lesions, rashes and moles, as well as enabling examination of a patient’s tonsils and ear canal; using 5G, the patient can send data to a doctor in real time.

In Greece, the Vodafone Foundation Telemedicine Programme is using mobile technology combined with next generation medical devices to provide high-quality specialised healthcare, regardless of location. By way of tablets and medical equipment, GPs and rural doctors are able to transfer their examinations to medical specialists for their expert opinion, granting greater access to secondary care for those in remote and rural locations. The programme is implemented in 100 remote areas, covering a population of 500,000 people. Results show an increase in patient engagement and adherence with treatment plans, as well as improved continuity and completeness of care with the ability to identify issues more quickly: around 75% of patients reported a reduction in the number of hospital visits they needed. 

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