Showing posts with label Telehealth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Telehealth. Show all posts

Monday, 13 December 2021

5G & AI Powered Smart Hospitals

5G Telehealth has been one of the main driving use cases for upgrading the infrastructure. While some use cases definitely make sense, some others like remote surgery will most likely never happen, at least the way it's depicted today.

At the GSMA Mobile 360 APAC - 5G Industry Community Summit, Michael Fung, Chief Information Officer from CHUK Medical Centre presented a nice talk detailing how they see 5G & AI powered hospitals of the future. The video of his talk is embedded at the bottom of this post.

There have also been some other discussions on 5G & healthcare recently. Here are the links if you want to explore this topic further:

The US FDA recently published a one pager looking at how Service level agreements (SLAs) can enable 5G-enabled medical device use cases by documenting how a medical device communication requirement is met by the unique characteristics of 5G networks and the roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders involved in offering safe and effective 5G-enabled healthcare to patients.

IEEE Access has a detailed paper on this topic by the same authors. Quoting from the abstract:

Service level agreements (SLAs) can enable 5G-enabled medical device use cases by documenting how a medical device communication requirements are met by the unique characteristics of 5G networks and the roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders involved in offering safe and effective 5G-enabled healthcare to patients. However, there are gaps in this space that should be addressed to facilitate the efficient implementation of 5G technology in healthcare. Current literature is scarce regarding SLAs for 5G and is absent regarding SLAs for 5G-enabled medical devices. This paper aims to bridge these gaps by identifying key challenges, providing insight, and describing open research questions related to SLAs in 5G and specifically 5G-healthcare systems. This is helpful to network service providers, users, and regulatory authorities in developing, managing, monitoring, and evaluating SLAs in 5G-enabled medical systems.

Here is the video from GSMA 5G Industry Community Summit Part 2:

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Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Banana and Egg gets 5G Telesurgery


Last year I wrote a detailed post on '5G Remote Surgery and Telehealth Solutions' here. Since then many people with little or no understanding of how the technology works have got in touch with me to educate me about all the 5G remote surgeries taking place. 

I am always prepared to learn new things and looked at both of these surgeries (detailed below) with open mind. I was still unable to see the 5G angle here. In fact in the case of banana, I don't even know if 5G was used.

Back in 2014, a BBC article detailed how a surgeon in Canada has performed over 20 remote surgeries with the help of a robot including colon operations and hernia repairs. The article goes on to ask, "The technology behind long-distance surgery is now mature enough to be used more widely, allowing people to access world-leading expertise and better healthcare without having to travel. Could it become the norm in hospitals?"

The first case is from Aug 2020 as shown in the video above where Doctor Liu Rong from a hospital in Beijing takes on the challenge of remotely controlling a medical robot in distant Qingdao City via the 5G network to finish an egg membrane suture surgery in 90 minutes.

The question here is that where exactly was 5G used and why? Did both the ends have 5G or just one end? Etc. I was unable to find a schematic to show the end-to-end details that would provide credibility to such a scenario.

To explain what I mean, when Vodafone UK launched 5G, they demonstrated low latency by giving an example of Haptic tackle using TeslaSuit. You can read the details and watch the video here

As you can see, the end-to-end solution architecture is nicely explained as shown in this picture. I would expect a similar kind of schematic for the surgery scenario. While I can clearly understand the use case for sports outdoor, I am not able to understand the use case for the surgery indoors. Where was the access point? What frequency was used? Was this Standalone or Non-Standalone network? And many other questions like these. 

The second case was a more recent one. The video is embedded below.

Even though the video mentions 5G and many other sites (see this LinkedIn post with nearly 2.5 million views) that have picked this up mention 5G, the original Instagram video does not mention 5G. In all likelihood there is no 5G connection with this one.

Surely there will be a real life 5G remote surgery use case someday that will capture our imagination but not today.

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Monday, 11 May 2020

5G Remote Surgery and Telehealth Solutions


One of the most controversial 5G use cases is the remote surgery. In this post I want to quickly look at the history and what is possible. Before I go to that, here is a short summary video that I am embedding upfront.



As far as I can recall, Ericsson was the first vendor that started talking about remote surgery. This is a tweet from back in 2017.


Huawei didn't want to be far behind so they did one at MWC Shanghai in 2018. Their tweet with video is embedded below.


In January 2019, South China Morning Post (SCMP) showed a video of a remote surgery on an animal. While the video and the article didn't provide many details, I am assuming this was done by Huawei as detailed here. The video of the surgery below.



This was followed by Mobile World Congress 2019 demo where a doctor used 5G to direct surgery live from a stage at MWC to Hospital Clinic Barcelona over 3 miles away. The team of doctors was removing a cancerous tumor from a patient's colon. This video from that is embedded below.



Vodafone New Zealand had a silly remote surgery of a dog video but looks like they have removed it.  Nothing can beat this Telecom Italia ad embedded below.



There are some realistic use cases. One of them being that with 5G the number of cables / wires in a hospital can be reduced saving on the disinfection.
NTT Docomo showcased 5G Mobile SCOT (Smart Cyber Operating Theater) which is an Innovative solution to enable advanced medical treatment in diverse environments. You can read more details here.

There are lots of other things going on. Here is a short list:
  • April 2020: Because of Coronavirus COVID-19, NT Times has an article on Telemedicine Arrives in the U.K.: ‘10 Years of Change in One Week’ - even though this does not involve 5G, it just shows that we are moving in that direction.
  • February 2020: 5G-aided remote CT scans used to diagnose COVID-19 patients in China (link)
  • February 2020: Verizon teamed with Emory Healthcare to test new 5G use cases for the medical industry at the latter’s Innovation Hub in Atlanta, in a bid to discover how the technology can be used to improve patient care. The collaboration will explore applications including connected ambulances; remote physical therapy; medical imaging; and use of AR and VR for training. (link)
  • February 2020: Vodafone 5G Healthcare – Conference & Experience Day (link)
  • November 2019: TIM enables first live remote-surgery consultation using 5G immersive reality (link)
  • October 2019: Along with a hospital in Malaga, Telef√≥nica has presented what it claims is the first expert assistance system for medical interventions that runs on 5G. (link and video)
  • September 2019: Mobile Future Forward 2019 - World's First Remote VR Surgery Demo conducted on Sept 4th, 2019 in Seattle by Chetan Sharma, James Youngquist, Evie Powell, Nissim Hadar, David Colmenares, and Gabe Jones. (link)

Finally, a nice video on Benefits of 5G for Healthcare Technology by T-Mobile



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