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How 5G will transform remote health care

By Max Burkhalter
December 11, 2020

For years, the most dangerous thing about living in a remote area wasn't moose or bears, it was lack of rapid response health care. When it takes half a day to travel to the nearest doctor or clinic, people with chronic conditions or new emerging conditions often wait rather than make the trip. This can result in late diagnosis for treatable illnesses, and even fatalities if chronic sickness isn't appropriately addressed as it progresses.

However, with the advent of telehealth, videoconferencing allows patients and doctors to have appointments on demand. 5G is improving the experience, bringing speed of connectivity and the ability to file-share seamlessly to rural dwellers' health care experience.

A helathcare provider looks at an MRI scan showing a patient's brain.5G networks make sharing MRI files fast and easy.

Benefits of 5G for rural health care
5G, also known as "the fifth generation" of cellular wireless technology, brings lightning-speed connections and the power to quickly transmit large image files to telehealth. formerly, many files such as MRI images simply ate up too much bandwidth, making it hard for doctors to review them with patients or send them back and forth between specialists. 5G networks allow lightning-fast transmission of data packets to provide image transmission in short order. Doctors can then view and share 1 GB or larger MRI files with ease, per Healthcare IT News.

Rural health care programs are typically short on appointment time and space, but with telemedicine, outreach and patient experiences improve. Becker's Hospital review estimates steady growth in the global telemedicine market of 16.5% annually from now until 2023, and the pandemic has only boosted those numbers even higher. With 5G, doctors can manage more patient cases effectively in real time, jumping from one appointment to the next and reviewing files rapidly without wait times. 

The Internet of Things is strong in health care spaces, with wearables capable of tracking patient data and signaling the need for a doctor when appropriate. AI analysis can work with data from IoT-connected wearables to figure out if a recently discharged patient is at risk for health complications, and adjust discharge dates to keep a rural patient hospitalized until the danger period is past. On the flip side, patients who are low risk can be discharged promptly and their condition monitored remotely, cutting health care costs both for readmitting failing patients and freeing up beds for hale ones. 
Until now, remote monitoring technology usage is limited by network data handling capacity. With 5G, doctors get lower latency and higher capacity, to keep multiple patients across a large rural area monitored simultaneously. Providers who need to access data from their mobile devices can invest in tablets with 5G connectivity and provide superior care from wherever they are with a connection and a digital patient file.

Compliant with data regulation for healthcare providers
5G can also be made highly secure and compliant with HIPAA standards, which have traditionally been a sticking point when it comes to remotely administrated medicine. Doctors and patients can enjoy confidentiality as usual, while working together for best outcomes. Home health nurses, midwives, traveling specialists and satellite pharmacies can all benefit from 5G connectivity for patient monitoring and care. 

Managing connections to a 5G network requires state of the art equipment. Perle can support 5G in your hospital or clinic, delivering the secure experience and data management seamlessness you and your patients need most. Contact us today to learn more about how wireless solutions, mobile devices, secure technology, and 5G networks are transforming health care from city streets to country roads.


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