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5G’s role in telemedicine: The future is now

The content of this post is solely the responsibility of the author.  AT&T does not adopt or endorse any of the views, positions, or information provided by the author in this article. 

Healthcare and technology have always gone hand in hand. Telemedicine, which lets you talk to doctors without visiting them in person, is a great example. A few years back, it might have sounded like science fiction. 

But today, it’s a regular part of many people’s lives. In fact, data shows that 80% of people have used telemedical services at least once in their lives.

And now 5G is making the process even more efficient. 

Most of us know 5G as just a faster way to use the internet on our phones. But for healthcare, it’s a lifesaver. With 5G, doctors can diagnose patients in real-time, no matter how far apart they are. It could even make remote surgeries a reality.

And the best part? 5G can help everyone, not just people in big cities. It has the power to bring top-notch healthcare to places that were left out before. As we move forward, it’s exciting to think about how 5G will change healthcare for all of us. 

Continue reading to find out more.

How 5G is changing telemedicine

Before 5G, telemedicine was already useful, but it had its limits. Sometimes, the internet connection might be slow, making video calls blurry or delayed. This could be a problem, especially in critical situations where every second counts.

But with 5G, things are changing. Here’s how:

  • Faster video calls. With 5G, video calls between patients and doctors can be crystal clear and smooth. This means better communication and understanding, which is vital in healthcare.
  • Real-time data. Doctors can now get real-time data about a patient’s health. For example, if a patient wears a heart monitor, the doctor can see the results instantly with 5G. This helps in making quick decisions.
  • Remote surgeries. This might sound like it’s out of a Star Trek episode, but it’s becoming a reality. With 5G’s speed, a surgeon in one city could guide surgery in another city. This can be a game-changer, especially in places where there aren’t many specialists.
  • Reaching more people. With 5G, even people in remote areas can access telemedicine. This means they can get the medical help they need without traveling long distances.

How 5G helps with remote patient monitoring

Remote patient monitoring is like having a mini-doctor’s office in your home. It’s a way for doctors to keep an eye on your health without you having to visit them in person. 

Here’s how it works and why it’s making a big difference:

Tools and devices 

These aren’t just ordinary gadgets. Devices like heart rate monitors, blood pressure cuffs, and even glucose meters have been upgraded for the digital age. 

When you use them at home, they don’t just give readings; they send this data over the internet straight to your doctor’s system for remote patient monitoring. This means your doctor gets a clear, real-time picture of your health without you having to jot down or remember numbers.

Less visits, same care 

The traditional model of healthcare often meant waiting in a clinic, even for minor check-ups. With remote monitoring, many of these visits are no longer necessary. You can go about your day, and the devices will do the work. The elderly stand to benefit the most from this, as well as those with mobility issues, or people living in remote areas where a doctor’s visit might be a day-long affair.

Quick responses

In the past, you might only realize a health issue when it became serious or symptomatic. Now, if there’s a sudden spike in your blood pressure or an irregularity in your heart rate, your doctor can spot it instantly. This proactive approach can lead to faster interventions, potentially preventing more severe health issues down the line.

Peace of mind

There’s a certain comfort in knowing that, even when you’re alone at home, someone qualified is keeping an eye on your well-being. For those with chronic conditions or those recovering from surgeries, this continuous monitoring can be a reassuring presence, reducing anxiety about potential health complications.

Helping more people

With traditional in-person visits, a doctor can only see a limited number of patients in a day. Remote monitoring allows medical professionals to oversee the health of many more patients simultaneously. It’s not about replacing the personal touch but enhancing a doctor’s reach and ensuring that they’re still connected to their patients even when they’re not in the same room.

Risks of 5G-powered patient monitoring

Coincidentally, remote patient monitoring happens to be the biggest double-edged sword in telemedicine. With sensors capable of capturing real-time health data and transmitting it instantaneously to healthcare providers, treatment plans can be adjusted almost in real-time. 

Yet, this ceaseless flow of highly sensitive information also highlights the indispensable need for cyber awareness. Ensuring that both ends of this data transmission are secure prevents unauthorized access and potential manipulation of patient health data. Equally, the encryption standards and security protocols built into AT&T’s 5G network act as additional layers of defense. 

But it doesn’t end there—cyber awareness extends beyond mere data encryption to include educating healthcare providers and patients on safe data handling practices, the importance of regular software updates, and understanding potential phishing threats. Both practitioners and the teams surrounding them must be fully cyber-aware before integrating 5G into their operations. 

Enabling accessibility in remote areas

5G is a game-changer for small clinics in remote areas. Before, they might have struggled with slow internet, making tasks like keeping digital records challenging. 

But with 5G’s fast and reliable connection, these clinics can now efficiently reach their patients, manage patient data, and even share information with distant specialists. For instance, a recent study shows that tobacco use cessation services can now reach up to 60% of rural residents thanks to fast internet connectivity. 

Medical practitioners can also offer online booking for patients and provide staff with online training opportunities. But AT&T’s 5G allows patients to be reached digitally, as well. 

Thanks to the high-speed, reliable connectivity provided by 5G, remote healthcare providers can now commission HIPAA-compliant websites on short notice, all while drastically reducing the cost to develop a website. This approach is advantageous for both patients and practice owners. 

For the patients, a HIPAA-compliant platform ensures that their confidential medical data is handled with the highest standards of security and privacy. For practice owners, utilizing ready-made services lets them reach their community more easily, and reap the full benefits of AT&T’s wide-spanning 5G coverage. 

Thus, 5G doesn’t merely extend the reach of healthcare services but also elevates the quality and security of the digital platforms that facilitate this extended reach.

Additionally, 5G ensures that valuable data is backed up securely online, safeguarding against losses. In essence, it bridges the gap, allowing small, remote clinics to function as efficiently as their counterparts in bigger cities.

Conclusion

The intersection of technology and healthcare is reshaping the way we think about medical treatment and access. As advancements like 5G become more integrated into our daily lives, the potential for improved patient care and more inclusive health services grows exponentially. 

It’s an exciting time to witness these changes, knowing that they pave the way for a future where quality healthcare is not just a privilege but a right accessible to all. 

Embracing these innovations ensures a brighter, healthier tomorrow for everyone.

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