Unless you have been off the grid the past couple of months, you have heard or the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. Talk of the virus has been all over affecting nearly all if not all sectors and may get worse if not addressed immediately. The virus is spreading at an alarming rate and given the fact that we still don’t know much about it, it will take time before it is all over.
At the moment, there are different parties working on ways to end this pandemic. We need different stakeholders to come together to play their part if we are to address this menace efficiently. If we leave that to one country or one sector, we may eradicate the virus in one part of the world only for it to resurface again from a different region.
One of the ways we can tackle the COVID-19 pandemic is to leverage on 5G. Even though the technology is still at its infancy, it can be used effectively to prevent, treat and drive the digital transformation of healthcare systems in response to major public emergencies like the one we are currently facing. This is according to a new report released by Deloitte.
The report titled “Combating COVID-19 with 5G: Opportunities to improve public health systems,” was released in partnership with Huawei, one of the leaders is the 5G race at the moment. The COVID-19 outbreak broke out in China and it makes sense to see some of the key solutions meant at addressing this crisis coming out of the country and being accelerated by its top companies. Some of the solutions that are coming up will be useful even after this crisis is over as there are lessons to be learned along the way.
During the outbreak in China, telecommunications operators collaborated with Huawei to rapidly set up a specific 5G network dedicated to COVID-19 treatment hospitals. This was key in helping tackle the virus in the populous country.
The report also highlights some of the examples of COVID-19 control and treatment measures in China and identified challenges that face epidemic management in terms of monitoring, quarantine and treatment.
5G offers faster communication and data transfers and this is one of the findings the report highlights. It points out that the effectiveness of communication and data exchange has been essential in screening for infected individuals and controlling the outbreak. This by enabling thermal imaging, continuous remote monitoring and diagnoses during patient transfer.
The research also highlighted the need to build and upgrade public health emergency response mechanisms, through which governments are able to make right decisions promptly and allocate resources more effectively. This is crucial in any emergency and more so the current one we are facing.
In this regard, 5G can also promote collaboration by enabling connectivity, maintaining effective communication among hospitals, and enable medical data and reference sharing between hospitals and scientific research institutions, especially “in the rapid increases in data volume and mounting demand for remote and HD-video based treatment” scenario.
In addition, the report indicates that the success of 5G applications in the public health domain could also inspire new business models in other sectors. It finds as a result of 5G features such as high speed connection, high reliability and low latency, the healthcare system has benefited from improved response times, patient monitoring, data collection and analytics, remote collaboration and resource allocation. It also sets an example for digitalised, data driven and Cloud-based innovative major public emergency response platforms.
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