Join the IoT Forum in July as we explore new B2B2C services that will encompass video consultations, big data, wearables, AI, security, and communications to democratize and improve healthcare while lowering the cost for the provider.
Silicon Valley, California, July 16 2021/Meeting Recap/ At this month's meeting the Telecom Council revisited the topic of Telehealth and mHealth. This topic has moved a long way since the last time we focused on it. There are now a host of telecom-centric remote healthcare solutions implemented around the world, and the expected benefits have began to accrue. The notion of "remote surgery" is popular as a proposed use case for 5G, but the examples we heard from today illustrate that there are immense benefits to be gained long before something as complicated as remote surgery emerges - simple video conference access between patient and provider can reduce costs, smash barriers, and supercharge healthcare access in rich and poor countries alike.
Some of the benefits discussed of telehealth:
One of the take-aways from the above list, and our presenters, was that there is immense payoff from just the simplest of telehealth solutions. By merely opening the lines of communication between patient and provider, phenomenal benefits can be unlocked. And by simple, we're referring to just reliable and secure text, chatbot, voice, or video communications. But, we learned that none of those "Simple" communications can provide benefits without good Telehealth systems put in place, with staffing and resources, datacenters, ops centers, call centers, some AI, reliable triage, and secure but readily available patient data.
If it's all so simple, what's the role of new tech and 5G? Well, going forward, telehealth will move beyond the low-hanging fruit, and leverage faster and better connectivity, and new devices, sensors, monitors, and systems. For example, what can you do with a 5G connected ambulance?
British Telecom is working with the NHS to connect and augment the capabilities of ambulances in the UK. In this case, we learned that to go to the next level beyond just connecting patient to provider, it's useful to be able to control the equipment at both ends of the telehealth chain. So, the system for the ambulances is designed end-to-end with custom equipment and radios in the ambulance, and centralized staff ready to connect remotely and assist. Having the ability to train paramedics further augments the reliability and complexity of the solution that can be offered. In the BT case, the ambulance paramedic's role goes beyond "stabilize and transport" to being a remote set of hands for a physician to begin diagnosis of the patient. The paramedic actually can wear a 5G-connected low-latency haptic glove, which guides his hands on an ultrasound sensor, extending the virtual reach of a physician located elsewhere.
As always, we enjoyed a variety of innovators with solutions touching on the lessons above. Thanks to all who contributed. Members can review the presentations in the Member-only presentation library.