When a timely diagnosis counts, 5G can improve patient health

More sophisticated network infrastructures will support rapid transfer of large medical images

by Rod Cruz, GM of Healthcare Solutions, AT&T Business

You may be thinking that 5G is simply an upgraded version of existing technologies, but it’s so much more. In fact, the Brooking Institute’s Center for Technology Innovation notes that 5G is a “transformative ecosystem” that “integrates 4G, Wi-Fi, millimeter wave, and other wireless access technologies.”

AT&T is working to harness this synergy to help generate more memorable, personalized experiences across many industries, including healthcare.

5G has the potential to alter many long-standing healthcare practices, but I believe its capacity to accelerate the exchange of diagnostic images deserves special consideration. These critical resources can be a burden on heath system networks and impede patient treatments.

As FileCloud reports, “Compared to other medical records, medical images present a great challenge with regards to file size. It is actually reported that a significant number of sequences and images are an average of 300MB. Additionally, average file size for a standard mammography image and a 3D tomography image are 19MB and 392 MB, respectively. While these file sizes already seem too large, Austin Radiological Association (ARA) predicts that by 2024, annual data from its 3D breast imaging files will reach 3 petabytes.”

When a network’s bandwidth is allocated to other tasks, the transmission of large images can stall or fail. These delays can leave patients in limbo as they wait to receive treatments and may also limit the total number of patients a provider can treat. 5G’s  eventual network performance has the potential to enable faster, more reliable transfers of massive medical images generated by advanced diagnostic tools such as MRI and CT scan machines.

Ultimately with 5G, practitioners could access and share large files that might overwhelm slower, less sophisticated infrastructures and assess patient conditions more rapidly. By improving the way doctors and medical staff handle these important resources, patients could receive timely and effective treatments.

To learn more about what 5G can do for healthcare and how your organization can prepare for the changes ahead, read our new 5G and Healthcare eBook.