The Effect of 5G Technology on the Healthcare Industry

By Evan Kirstel
9 Mar 2018

With Irma Rastegayeva of

Minutes upon Evan's return from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (#MWC18), we wanted to share our excitement about the exploding #mobile ecosystem, #5G technology, and how it will continue to enable #innovation in #healthcare. See a brief highlight video here:

Has your healthcare experience been markedly improved by technology yet? Perhaps you’ve been using a fitness tracker, or enjoy easy access to your medical notes through a provider portal. Faster mobile connection speeds are transforming the doctor-patient relationship. The patients can now use a remote medical sensor to transmit their vital signs to the healthcare provider of their choice. The data allows the caregiver or doctor to monitor an array of patient vital signs and intervene over video. This helps the healthcare provider to dynamically manage treatment plans for their patients. All this is made possible thanks to the the fifth generation (5G) wireless technology.

Qualcomm announced in October 2017 that they have created the world's first working 5G chip and completed the first ever test of 5G connectivity on a mobile device. There were similar announcements from T-Mobile, Ericsson, and Sprint since. This points to a steady industry push for a transition from 4G to 5G technology.

What Makes 5G Superior?

It is important to understand that 5G technology isn't just an extension of 4G. It is much more than that. 5G technology is a network that combines Wi-Fi, 4G, millimeter wavelength radio frequency, and wireless-access technologies, allowing mobile connection speeds to exceed 100 megabits per second. 5G technology also leverages the power of virtualized network core, intelligent edge services, and cloud infrastructure. What is most interesting about 5G is its ability to use a model that gets insights from millions of devices across the globe. There are 4 important factors that set 5G technology apart from its predecessors:

  • Fast & intelligent networks
  • Low latency
  • Backend services
  • Connected devices

This shift in capabilities enables real time aggregation and analysis of data, moving wireless technology from communication to computing. It allows 5G to enable a fully connected and interactive world with a wide variety of applications across industries.

Why is 5G an Enabling Technology for Healthcare?

5G networks offer new avenues for the delivery of health care. The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is part of the Internet of Things (IoT). This massive network is poised to include billions of low-bit rate and low-energy connected health monitoring devices, remote sensors, and clinical wearables, with 5G providing a backbone infrastructure for IoT. Doctors will rely on these devices to collect and electronically transmit their patients’ data. The data will be received in real time, allowing healthcare providers to efficiently analyse it, derive insights, and administer or adjust treatments. On the diagnostics and prevention side, this data will also allow doctors to increase the accuracy of their diagnoses and therefore effectiveness of treatments.

The annual global IoT revenue in healthcare is expected to surpass $27 Billion by the year 2025 (Strategy Analytics, June 2017).

What’s In It For The Patient?

Say you are a patient that does not like or is unable to physically visit your healthcare provider on a regular basis. The prohibiting factors may be the cost, time, stigma, immobility, or lack of qualified providers in your area. You might be part of the underserved population or just a busy professional with limited time. Soon, you will be able to visit your doctor virtually, thanks to the 5G technology. The healthcare provider can study and analyze your medical history and provide a highly personalized treatment plan for you, all in a virtual environment. 5G technology will allow your doctor to get critical updates on your condition in real time and deliver effective health care remotely. More than 75% of medical resources are used to treat patients with chronic health conditions, majority of them being the elderly. 5G enables remote patient monitoring and inclusion of patient’s family and caregivers in communications with the doctor and in the treatment plans.

Who is Leading the Adoption?

We’ve just scratched the surface on how 5G is an enabling technology that will transform the doctor-patient relationship and the healthcare overall. Its adoption might be currently led by the Telecommunications industry, but once technology matures some and proves itself indispensable, Healthcare will be adopting it en masse. IHS Markit predicts that 5G will enable more than $1 Trillion in products and services for the global health care sector.

About the Authors

Evan Kirstel is an internationally recognized thought leader and influencer in IoT, Cloud, Data Security, HealthTech, DigitalHealth, B2B Marketing, AI, SmartHome and more. With 25+ years of sales, alliances and biz dev experience, he brings a unique perspective on opportunities in the Unified Communications and Collaboration landscape, including deep knowledge of social, mobile, voice/video/web collaboration market and cloud technology. Evan’s been named the 5th most influential B2B marketeer in the US. His social media “Klout” score is 83 and rising! You can follow Evan on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.

Irma Rastegayeva is an Innovation Catalyst, entrepreneur and consultant based in Boston. She left a successful 5-year tenure with Google to fully indulge her passion for medical technology and healthcare innovation. Irma was recently named one of the TOP Women in Tech Influencers. She serves on the board of Ideas in Action and is a co-founder and program director at TEDxBeaconStreet. You can follow Irma on Twitter and connect with her on LinkedIn.


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