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5G and Healthcare

The healthcare industry has had its fair share of revolutions, and one more is on the horizon with the emergence of 5G technology. 5G is coming to India as early as 2020, as per the Indian government roadmap. More than 300,000 km of fiber is being deployed under the government’s flagship BharatNet program providing fiber connectivity to rural India. The government is playing a crucial role with its programs as establishing regulatory bodies, National eHealth Authority and National Digital Health Authority; and the Ayushman Bharat program.

5G’s combination of faster communication at lower latencies promises the potential to transform healthcare through giving providers new, more robust datasets from which to work.

5G enabled technologies such as IoT, big data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning have the capability to overhaul the healthcare system. Mobility-connected healthcare is allowing remote diagnosis for complex cases, performing pre-planned surgeries in remote locations and 5G is expected to not only improve the reach of healthcare services across India but also the quality of diagnosis and subsequent treatment. Monitoring health-the Internet of Medical Things could make it possible for physicians to remotely monitor patient’s ingestion and medicine intake in real time. Automation-remotely operated robotic surgeries, enabled through mission critical features of 5G networks requiring high reliability, high availability, and low latency could bring advanced medical treatment which is out of reach of the rural population. Online consultations and data management are expected to expedite diagnosis.

There is not a single technology or solution that will be utilized completely by the healthcare segment. Healthcare models are rapidly changing due to demographic and socio-economic changes from a hospital-based, specialist-focused approach to a distributed, patient-centric care model. There will have to be a methodical, stepwise and need-based evolution from existing technologies to the future. Challenges as capital investment, security & privacy, data governance and spreading awareness among specialists, with new innovations and better utilization of 5G will need to be addressed as an ongoing process.

5G is poised to open a new chapter in healthcare-only this time it’s about millimeter waves, and not microbes.

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