Recently, the consumer Lab of Ericsson released the report on the transformation from medical care to home care, which conducted an online survey on 4500 advanced smartphone / mobile broadband users aged 18-69.
Respondents came from Germany, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States. Respondents generally use fitness trackers, smart watches and health apps to monitor their health status.
At the same time, the report also conducted an online survey of 900 decision makers from six industries in the above-mentioned countries, including health care companies, insurance companies, medical technology companies, telecom operators, application developers / integrators and government regulators.
The report proposes that the next generation network (5g) will play a key role in medical transformation, efficiently transmit data in the ecological cooperation system of feedback, alarm, mobility and low delay, and serve as an auxiliary tool to promote the success of a series of applications, including remote monitoring based on medical wearable devices, virtual doctor-patient interaction and remote robotic surgery.
Arterial network will share the main contents of the report to readers from the following three aspects:
Wearable devices and remote monitoring are popular, and 5g accelerates the transformation from hospital to home care mode;
Patient data tends to be centralized, and 5g will solve the problem of secure access to the online central repository;
5g has become a necessary condition for non-traditional enterprises to enter the medical industry.
Wearable devices and remote monitoring are popular, and 5g accelerates the transformation from hospital to home care mode
Where have the doctors gone? What will a multi-storey hospital building look like? These are the problems we may face in the near future. Consumers demand greater control over when, where, how and who will participate in their health care. This trend will become more obvious with the development of 5g technology and the popularity of smartphone applications and social media.
More and more consumers have further increased demand for monitoring: using wearable devices to monitor health and remote medication, keen on online consultation and receiving telemedicine (such as robotic surgery) in closer local hospitals. Consumers want to keep healthy through preventive measures such as regular health examination, daily exercise and healthy diet.
More than 60% of respondents are willing to use wearable devices as preventive measures to check abnormalities and manage chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. They believe that wearable devices will help bring healthier lifestyles and personalized care.
Consumers’ awareness of wearable devices to improve preventive care (screenshot from the report on the transformation from medical care to home care)
Robotic surgery is no longer new to people, but it requires surgeons to stand next to the robot rather than remote control. Nearly half (48%) of consumers believe that remote robotic surgery is acceptable, while 61% believe that such surgery is risky because they rely too much on the Internet. Such programs are carried out through tactile feedback and high-definition image stream, requiring low delay and high-throughput communication.
The improvement of medical and health level can help people prolong their life, but also lead to the increase of elderly patients who need double care, which brings more pressure to the medical system. The resulting shortage of resources forces the medical and health industry to rely more and more on 5g, automation, remote diagnosis and treatment and artificial intelligence (AI).
By 2050, the global population aged 60 and over is expected to reach 2 billion, of which 21% will be aged 80 and over. Taking care of the elderly has become a challenge. For example, the number of mature nursing homes in the United States has decreased by 9% over the past decade due to rising costs and resource shortages.
At the same time, more than 70% of respondents worry that elderly patients are unattended – they are easy to slip and fall at home, and do not take prescription drugs on time. Wearable devices and remote monitoring have brought tangible help to the elderly or their families. About 48% of people hope that home sensors can monitor the health status of the elderly and call an ambulance when needed.
In remote health monitoring, wearable devices (such as heart monitor and blood glucose monitor) need to update the central data repository at a low rate. Common networks cannot provide the required technical support when connecting a large number of such devices, and 5g can solve this challenge. Because 5g can better support continuous monitoring and sensory processing devices, it makes continuous monitoring of patients possible and accelerates the transformation of the hospital to home care mode.
In terms of battery life, 42% of cross industry decision makers hope that 5g can make the equipment consume less power, which is the key to remote monitoring. At present, consumer wearable devices are widely used as preventive measures, but at the same time, it is also considered not enough to diagnose accurately or reliably.
In addition, due to responsibility reasons, you cannot rely on the patient’s smartphone for connection. For them, wearable devices need high-frequency updates from the central repository, but the data rate is very low. 5g connection is not limited to wearable devices. It also allows patients to carry a medical grade 5g router, and then use Bluetooth to connect various wearable devices.
Patient data tends to be centralized, and 5g will solve the problem of secure access to the online central repository
The shift of medical care from hospital to family will feed back more detailed patient information to the hospital. The popularity of wearable devices, sensors and other networked devices will generate a large number of diagnostic data, which need to be combined with the electronic medical record (EHR) issued by clinicians and stored in a safe central location.
In order to realize the transformation of patient applications, medical industry practitioners need to centrally store patient data, turn hospitals into data centers, and turn doctors into data scientists. Patients can easily improve the quality and efficiency of their care through online access to the medical records in the central repository. Artificial intelligence system can provide doctors and researchers with clinical relevant real-time information from centralized data repository.
44% of cross industry decision makers believe that insight based on the analysis of such complex data will accelerate diagnosis. Consulting the patient’s health records during routine consultation can improve the diagnostic level and reduce medical errors in emergencies. Although doctors and patients do not have face-to-face contact, the data shorten their distance.
More than 40% of cross industry decision makers said that decentralized patient data is a serious problem in the current health care system. 45% believe that allowing doctors to access centralized patient data online will have a positive impact on health care services, which is a breakthrough in health care supply. 47% of Telecom decision-makers believe that secure access is a challenge.
Patients also support this data centric development. 60% of consumers are willing to share data with healthcare providers and store it in a central repository. Because this will improve their access to health care services, help monitor chronic diseases, improve the quality of diagnosis and reduce waiting time. However, 61% of patients with chronic diseases were worried about the unauthorized use of monitoring data. About 46% of cross industry decision makers said that data security is a problem faced by online and telemedicine services.
Analysis on the reasons for consumers sharing health data (screenshot from the report on the transformation from medical care to home care)
Although the central repository can help doctors make informed clinical decisions and provide remote care when needed, any sudden interruption (such as connection failure) may make patients feel unsafe.
For example, human error recently caused a sudden interruption of Amazon Web services (AWS), resulting in the forced suspension of many website services.
Such interruptions in the healthcare system can have a fatal impact, which means that as healthcare services become closer to patients and data is increasingly transferred to a central repository, high availability networks and data centers will become crucial.
5g network is secure enough to comply with sensitive patient data regulations. In addition, 5g is expected to significantly improve the connection performance.
For example, 35% of cross industry decision makers want 5g to provide a reliable delay connection of less than 1 millisecond, which enables tactile feedback to improve the ability of surgeons to perform remote robotic surgery. Due to the limitations of physical laws, providing low delay over long distances is a challenge. Although optical fiber can provide low latency connections, experts say 5g is preferable for availability reasons.
5g has become a necessary condition for non-traditional enterprises to enter the medical industry
Changing consumer expectations, patient data access anytime, anywhere, and increasing Internet use all pave the way for non-traditional enterprises to enter the medical industry. Medical technology manufacturers, integrators and application developers have provided services to transfer health care from hospitals.
For example, the devices of Israel’s Tyto company and Las Vegas’s medband solutions company allow doctors to inspect patients remotely at home.
Non medical participants, including application development enterprises and telecommunications companies, have benefited from 13% and 9% of their total revenue in the medical field. Cross industry experts said that by 2020, this figure is expected to reach 19% and 13% respectively.
In addition, in the past seven years, digital health venture capital has increased from US $1.5 billion to about US $7 billion.
More complex devices and applications are being developed. For example, Swansea University in the UK is planning to try out intelligent 3D printing bandages. It hopes to use this wearable medical product with 5g wireless data and nano sensors to transmit specific health information and help doctors formulate personalized treatment plans according to wound healing.
Whether 5g network providers, service promoters and creators, telecom operators play an indispensable role in medical transformation. 86% of cross industry decision makers believe that telecom operators should not only provide connection services, but also take greater responsibility to provide system integration and development support of applications and services.
Ericsson predicts that 5g healthcare transformation operators will earn US $76 billion in revenue in 2026. In order to achieve a successful transformation, different participants must collaborate. Cross industry decision makers believe that Internet companies (such as apple, Google, Microsoft and IBM), telecom operators and application developers are the three preferred partners in health care, and the leaders in health care will put telecom operators first – higher than application developers and Internet companies.
It is estimated that in 2026, the potential revenue of 5g operators in the transformation of health care will reach US $76 billion (screenshot from the report on the transformation from medical care to home care)
Operators entering the medical value chain can promote their transformation in many fields, including hospital applications (virtual reality used in medical training, telemetry and online reservation systems) and real-time medical data management. For operators using 5g to enter the industry, the most promising area is the patient application used outside the traditional hospital environment. Such use cases include precision medicine, online consultation, remote health monitoring for chronic diseases and remote drug management.
5g will also benefit many existing applications and help develop new applications that cannot be realized by current technology, such as remote patient diagnosis and treatment.
At the same time, key healthcare services also need reliable connection technology, end-to-end low latency and ultra reliable communication. These are also crucial for instant communication of patient conditions (through high-definition images and access to medical records) and can provide accurate sensory and tactile interaction during telesurgery.
Whether wearable devices can be widely deployed largely depends on whether doctors advise patients to use them and whether health insurance companies recognize them. For example, the UK National Health Service (NHS) provides free applications and equipment to manage chronic diseases such as diabetes. Insurance companies need to provide insurance services for telemedicine and surgery if they want to become mainstream.
The regulatory system of the medical and health industry is extremely strict. Non traditional players must remember that it takes an average of 10 years for biotechnology companies to obtain product certification. In contrast, the investment cycle of it start-ups is only 3 years. The recent high-profile failure of theranos, a low-cost blood testing provider, highlights the need for technology companies to work with healthcare providers to improve services.
As connectivity becomes more and more important, consumer equipment or network coverage will no longer be the reason for hospitals to blame. Hospitals need to cooperate with medical technology companies and telecommunications companies to develop medical grade wearable devices that can connect to the Internet independently of smartphones.
Hospitals also need to take a collaborative approach to help patients set and achieve health goals. Consumers have different needs in different nursing situations (preventive care, routine care and postoperative care), and medical institutions need to take different methods to meet these needs.
In order to meet the needs of patients with chronic diseases, medical care will be transformed into home care, and patients will provide data to hospitals, and these patients are likely to become the largest beneficiary group.
In addition, the following emerging technologies will have a crucial impact on health care reform. For example, 5g new RF interface and access surpass previous generations of mobile communication, with huge system capacity, extremely low delay, ultra-high reliability and availability and ultra-low equipment energy consumption; The joint network slice can make the network slice roam in other networks to provide global services; Ran virtualization and distributed cloud storage ensure ultra-low end-to-end latency.
Artificial intelligence and real-time machine learning will become important elements to optimize the network to ensure the realization of service level agreements.