5 ways 5G will radically streamline healthcare operations.

5G has arrived, and the healthcare industry is ushering in a new era of operational possibilities. With more real-time data and insights, connected technologies and digital processes are helping improve healthcare systems for better patient outcomes and maximum efficiency.

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The future of healthcare starts with 5G.

With virtual care and telehealth revolutionizing where and when clinical interactions take place, digital innovations in healthcare enabled by 5G were already transforming the industry when COVID-19 hit—dramatically accelerating adoption.

Every corner of the healthcare system felt the stress: overflowing emergency departments, exhausted caregivers, evolving safety protocols, resource shortages, and more. Though the work is ongoing, many organizations explored new operational models and innovative technologies to mitigate long-time resilience issues exacerbated by the pandemic.

Venture capital, debt, and public market financing for digital healthcare increased an impressive 103% in 2020—a $21.6 billion investment that highlights just how essential fast, reliable wireless is in healthcare operations today.1

How the 5G revolution is transforming healthcare.

The healthcare industry is built on continuity and innovation. With low-latency and high-capacity 5G networks unlock the tech-powered treatments and efficiencies healthcare organizations need to thrive. From equipping clinicians with cutting-edge tools and data to expediting patient access, administration, and much more.

Here are five ways that 5G-fueled applications in healthcare—some still emerging—are helping power improvements in key processes for patients, providers, and organizations:

1. Faster mobile units and vehicles.

Beyond hospital walls, mobile units equipped with 5G medical technology can help patients sooner. A recent study of the mobile stroke unit program at UCLA found that mobile treatment timetables were on average 36 minutes faster than standard ambulatory and ER interventions.2 Untreated, the typical patient loses 1.9 million neurons per minute during a stroke—36 minutes could save over 68 million neurons and significant neurological function.3

5G-equipped smart ambulances—an ecosystem of sensors, medical devices, and software—are also gaining traction as a natural evolution for emergency operations. Paramedics, for example, deployed high-definition video, VR headsets, and haptic gloves to give remote clinicians more control of on-rig procedures.4
Revolutionary navigation capabilities for traffic control are advancing the transformation from 4G to 5G latency, enabling life-saving ambulatory care with the benefit of more data and communication pathways.

2. More connected devices in hospitals.

Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) devices and wearables are collecting more information than ever before, enabling patient data to seamlessly flow across wireless networks and facilitate intervention in life-saving moments.

The emergence of eICUs and tele-ICUs exemplifies the role of IoMT in hospital settings. With enhanced monitoring alone, medical teams can measurably reduce serious medical events.5 IoMT-rich tele-ICUs also create resourcing stability for hospitals—even those facing staffing constraints. A recent tele-ICU study found that monitoring paired with workflow reprioritization reduced the average “time to first video assessment” by 71% for tele-nurses and 56% for tele-intensivists.6

As connected monitoring and treatment technologies evolve, so too will the need for larger, faster wireless networks. The 5G expansion will deliver massive capacity, lower latency, and, importantly, broad coverage for in-building implementations in more places.

3. Advanced demand forecasting.

It’s estimated that failure of care coordination—from poor information handling to oversights with in-patient treatment—costs the healthcare industry anywhere from $27.2–$78.2 billion annually.7 Connecting systems between departments is helpful, but it’s even better to forecast demand.

By analyzing historical data, real-time insights across departments, supply chains, and more, predictive analytics built on artificial intelligence and machine learning programs help organizations create more effective staffing schedules and better resource allocation. With a similar program, one hospital reduced patient length of stay in the emergency department by 23%.8

Modern technology-driven approaches to patient care, staff management, and resource utilization require powerful networks to transmit accurate, secure data and timely notifications. With 5G’s increased bandwidth and greater capacity, healthcare organizations can realize efficiency and efficacy through the care delivery lifecycle.

4. Streamlined care with autonomous machines.

5G applications in healthcare extend beyond simplifying paperwork. For example, amid COVID-19, healthcare IT company Unmanned Life developed autonomous drones equipped with 5G to disinfect public spaces and used robots to deliver supplies to pharmacies and patient homes.9 From deliveries to on-demand resource creation, robots are gaining traction across healthcare settings to streamline tasks, reduce human error, and allow clinicians and staff to focus on what matters most.

Building on today’s communication capabilities, advanced automation will further streamline care. We’ll see sophisticated hospital-at-home programs, outfitted with automated care systems and devices. With the potential for peak data speeds over 2Gbps and future ability to support 8K quality ultra-high-definition video, clinicians will depend on devices and systems working quickly to address patient needs and comfort—virtually anywhere they’re located.10

5. Accessible telehealth and patient portals.

Predicting and preventing medical emergencies starts with empowering patients. Today, around 27.2% of U.S. adults—89.5 million people—have multiple chronic conditions.11 One of the solutions? More access points across the patient journey, resulting in improved population outcomes and stabilized costs for providers.

5G coverage opens doors for valuable, sustained patient-doctor interactions. We’re seeing how patients who tried telehealth for the first time during the pandemic are engaged in other forms of virtual care, such as digital health monitoring and at-home testing—likely due to convenience and a more patient-centric experience.12 And a recent report from Philips found that 82% of patients with quick access to their digital health record described their experience of care as good, very good, or excellent, compared to 66% without access.13 It’s clear that when people have simple access points, they become more engaged in their own health and wellness management. Seamless, reciprocal communication over 5G networks is game-changing for improving ongoing healthcare operations, experiences, and outcomes.

We built our 5G network to give you an advantage today.

With America’s largest, fastest 5G network, T-Mobile® for Business is here to help your organization unlock the possibilities of 5G now and in the future.

We offer a collaborative approach, building customized 5G medical solutions so your healthcare organization can get ahead of the 5G curve faster. Lean into 360° support from a team of experts dedicated to helping you reinvent healthcare operations, gain real-time insights, and focus on business optimization.

T-Mobile® for Business has an ambitious vision for fueling innovation in healthcare. To continue exploring 5G-fueled transformations across the healthcare ecosystem, visit our industry webpage today.

For more information on 5G and how it is accelerating innovation in your industry, check out T-Mobile for Business 5GHQ – Healthcare and learn more about the great things T-Mobile is doing with 5G at T-Mobile 5G HQ. We’re ready to support your success today. .

Ready to start building your 5G future?