“5G technology is a revolutionary force shaping healthcare’s future. The convergence of technology and healthcare offers a promising future where accessibility, innovation and global healthcare systems can come together for the betterment of humanity.”

THERE has been a groundbreaking shift in the telecommunications landscape thanks to 5G technology, promising unparalleled advancements in connectivity and catalysing transformations across various sectors, including healthcare.

The fifth-generation standard, known as 5G, has swiftly gained momentum, and projections indicate that by 2025, the global count of 5G network users will exceed 1.7 billion, underscoring this transformative technology’s rapid adoption and worldwide reach.

Amid the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, instances emerged where the deployment of 5G networks had significantly enhanced healthcare accessibility in remote and underserved regions.

In critical situations such as emergencies, 5G played a pivotal role in improving communication and coordination among emergency responders, resulting in quicker response times and more efficient resource deployment.

The observable enhancements in telemedicine and remote patient monitoring owe their success to the implementation of 5G technology.

The high data transfer speeds of 5G networks have revolutionised medical imaging by enabling the rapid and efficient transmission of large files from MRIs to CT scans. This, in turn, facilitated remote diagnostics and collaboration among healthcare professionals located in disparate regions.

5G technology’s high bandwidth and low latency enable high-definition video conferencing, real-time transmission of health data for continuous remote monitoring of patients with chronic conditions and seamless transmission of substantial volumes of data from wearable devices and sensors for vital sign monitoring.

In situations necessitating real-time data transfer, 5G can play a pivotal role. It facilitates faster communication between emergency services, leading to quicker ambulance dispatch and prompt decision-making across various medical settings, including intensive care units and surgical rooms.

The support for numerous connected devices underscores how 5G’s ability to handle many devices simultaneously has revolutionised healthcare practices. This proves especially advantageous for the widespread adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) in healthcare, ensuring enhanced connectivity and actively empowering patients to participate in their care through connected devices and applications.

The immense potential of 5G to revolutionise global healthcare systems has become evident. With its real-time data-handling capabilities, 5G can support a vast connected device ecosystem.

It enables healthcare professionals to receive immediate updates on patients’ vital signs and health metrics for early detection of potential issues and proactive intervention, especially in remote patient-monitoring scenarios.

Integrating 5G technology with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and IoT can enhance patient care experiences.

Patients can engage in virtual visits with healthcare professionals. At the same time, AI-driven diagnostics and real-time data from IoT devices will bolster the accuracy and speed of diagnoses, providing patients faster access to test results and expediting overall healthcare decision-making.

5G technology is a revolutionary force shaping healthcare’s future. As we move forward on this transformative journey, the convergence of technology and healthcare offers a promising future where accessibility, innovation and global healthcare systems can come together for the betterment of humanity.

This article is contributed by Prof Dr Leong Wai Yie, a senior professor in the Faculty of Engineering and Quantity Surveying at Inti International University.

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