5G to accelerate digital healthcare

by AUFA MADRHIAH / pic by AFP

THE implementation of 5G will accelerate the transformation of health care globally, with the emergence of digital healthcare.

Terence Wong, Head of APAC 5G Industry Community, believes that there is a need for digital health due to the large-scale lockdowns globally; minimising person-to-person contact.

“5G is technology to shift different industries including healthcare with better connection beyond 4G and wifi. With 5G adaptation, many new developments are possible to facilitate the health industry like medical images intelligence diagnostic, possibility of virtual consultation with more patient monitoring, more medical device connected, meta pharmacy with AI robots. 5G supports high density for robots of different functions like surveillance, disinfection, delivery, emergency diagnosis support is also possible,” Tong said at the Healthcare Industry Group Online Workshop organised by Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA) in collaboration with Huawei yesterday.

“5G enabled healthcare is already available and already used in certain situations in hospitals, care homes or nursing homes, chronic illness care, GP and other surgeries, pharma and life sciences research, ambulance and emergency room,” he added.

The workshop brings together mobile, healthcare and technologies specialists from various industries including mobile network operators, regulators and healthcare enterprises across the APAC 5G Industry ecosystem.

Discussing further on how Malaysia can accelerate digital transformation with policy, technology, ecosystem and partnerships, Viva Shaik Farid, Assistant Director for UCrest Berhad admits that pandemics have actually accelerated adoption of technology.

“This situation helps to decentralise care to home with IoT devices connected to mobile apps, at the same time helps physicians to do health services with patients and enables them to assist in diagnosis and care consultation,” she said.

Viva said that the use of data during and after pandemic forces the government to look into regulations. She believes that data belongs to patients therefore patients have to actually control autonomy of it to ensure data exchange with IoT devices eventually belongs to patients.

“Furthermore, patients nowadays are more receptive to the change with healthcare technology and able to understand the use of healthcare better,” she said.

Prof Shafi Ahmed, Ambassador Vodafone Connected Health and Chief Medical Officer, Medial Realities believes that 5G has transformed the way we think about health and care for patients.

“5G is an enabler (connectivity) allowing us to shape other tech that we have seen for the last decades come to perish. The application of 5G is going to be game-changing for us in many ways, we may really do things in real time; ambulances, remote surgery, education and health,” he said.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) Senior Manager, Portfolio Management, Technology Ecosystem and Globalisation, Jesse Chooi said that the government is very open to work with startup companies to create more opportunities in health services.

“The government is looking seriously at regulations on how to develop new tech and is very active in collaborating with the private sector; SANDBOX for a start where various solutions from the private sector can be brought in, ” he said.

In accordance, Katrina Lowes, Head of Vodafone Centre for Health with Deloitte believes that the strategic alliance, brought two parties together with two capabilities for Vodafone experience in connected with digital solution health combined with Deloitte healthcare consultancy, knowledge and experience of large practice.

“Many governments are making digitalisation on how they want to build back better; pandemic accelerated challenges, particularly in healthcare, have brought some of the things that we really need to take a good look at.

In Europe, the EU has put significant investment behind the use of digitalisation to help economic recovery to invest in things like 5G infra, rural network coverage or open ranks. Technology investment also needs to be adapted in the education, agriculture and health sector,” she added.

Furthermore, Prof Dr. Torin Fung, Founder and CEO of Leap Flash Technology Ltd also shared on China’s reformation in the healthcare system that was launched in August 2019 with a smart hospital service grading evaluation project.

The smart hospital service grading evaluation project enables 5G smart hospitals with augmented pharmacy, and smart dispensing machines.