Fifth-generation (5G) wireless network enables a faster transmission of data; which facilitates mobile communications and the way smart devices are connected to the internet.  

In medicine and healthcare, it’s believed that 5G wireless network could support the expansion of telemedicine, as clinicians are now able to provide remote consultation via high quality and non-disruptive connections, bringing quicker diagnoses and support closer to patients. 5G’s low latency nature also signifies a more precise and non-delay decision making process can take place within medicine at a lower cost.  

When 5G meets emergency services  

Recently, BT, a UK multinational telecommunication company partnered with University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust demonstrated how a 5G connected ambulance could possibly change the way emergency services are provided in the near future.  

The demonstration took place at the Medical Devices Testing and Evaluation Centre (MD-TEC) within UHB, whereby clinicians can see exactly what the paramedic is seeing inside an ambulance via a virtual reality like headset. There is also a camera capturing high definition footages of what is taking place in the ambulance.

With the help of a joystick, clinicians can give real-time instructions to paramedic and perform necessary diagnoses, scans, ultrasounds, or get a close-up insight into the injuries, vital signs, and medical records of the patients who are on the way to the hospitals. The demonstration also showcased a robotic glove which sends vibrations to paramedics’ hands and direct them to where the clinicians want to the ultrasound sensor to be.  

Minimize delays and improve efficiency  

BT launched its 5G mobile technology earlier this year. The Chief Executive of UHB NHS Foundation Trust, Dr. David Rosser believes this could provide many advantages ranging from reducing the number of patients visiting the Accident & Emergency (A&E) department and coming to the hospitals to providing a speedy diagnoses and so on.  

“We believe it (5G technology) has the potential to create more efficient use of healthcare resources, particularly with regards to easing the burden on A&E services which are facing unprecedented demand” Rosser told Digital Health.  

Fotis Karonis, Chief Technology Innovation Officer of BT Enterprise added low latency and ultrafast speed of 5G network will render little to no delay when data is being transmitted over the network. “This means things happen in ‘real time’ so this is of significant interest to the NHS because of its potential for medical applications, such as diagnostics and preventative healthcare. This capability provides efficiency opportunities for both hospital and ambulance trusts by reducing the number of referrals into hospital and patient trips”.  

Like artificial intelligence (AI), it’s still unclear the impact of 5G network beyond telemedicine and emergency services but its clinical implication and adoption are undoubtable. This AIMed 19, two speakers will also share their thoughts in the educating clinicians and facilitating of new technologies and innovations into clinical practice.  

Session Focus: Session 2 – Clinicians and AI in medicine 1

When: Thursday, December 12th 2019 (11:30 – 12:00)  

A panel discussion on the clinical conditions needed to deploy new technologies, establishment of clinical efficacy, and training practitioners in recognizing opportunities within AI.  

Attendees will gain the following knowledge:  

Learn to clearly define clinical needs required for new technology adoption.  

Review on the industry standards and regulatory requirements for efficacious adoption and ensure sufficient attention is given equity, bias and fairness. 

Understand the real opportunities brought about by AI and train practitioners to differentiate between hypes and reality.  

Benefit from the discussions around key questions that need to be addressed to facilitate clinical adoption of AI and how to inspire clinicians to think like data scientists and find gaps in their practice to be filled with AI.  


Kathy Jenkins. Executive Director, Center for Applied Pediatric Quality Analytics, Boston Children’s Hospital.  


Dr. Jesse Ehrenfeld. Chair, Board of Trustees, Amercian Medical Association.  

Dennis Wall. Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Systems Medicine) of Biomedical Data Science and by courtesy, of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University.

Author Bio

Hazel Tang A science writer with data background and an interest in the current affair, culture, and arts; a no-med from an (almost) all-med family. Follow on Twitter.