On 12th Feb 2021, Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) has tested 5G technology on a non-commercial basis in a limited environment at their headquarters. As a result of these tests, PTCL achieved downloading speed of approx 1.7 GBPS.
Now, Pakistan stands among those very few countries that have successfully conducted 5G trials. Undoubtedly, It will enable future innovation in many sectors especially in education, transportation, health, and manufacturing. But, in this very article, we are going to see five ways in which 5G will transform Pakistani Healthcare.
1- 5G will promote the use of TeleHealth
Currently, In most cases, people used to only have one option when they became ill and needed medical attention i.e. travel to a doctor or hospital. For people in rural areas, with doctors located several miles away, traveling while ill can be challenging and time-consuming. With the advent of telehealth and remote home monitoring systems, though, we could receive care from the comfort of our homes. Doctors could make recommendations after a short video call and even submit prescription requests.
Telemedicine requires a network that can support real-time high-quality video, which often means wired networks. With 5G, healthcare systems can enable mobile networks to handle telemedicine appointments, which can greatly increase the reach of the program.
2- Decentralisation of healthcare
In Pakistan, most of the healthcare facilities are in urban areas. There is a huge migration of patients from non-urban areas to get themselves treated in these facilities. To reduce the burden on urban infrastructures, there is a need for secondary and tertiary units to be set up in other semi-urban and rural areas so that patients originating there can get enhanced treatment at the source itself.
With connected towns and villages, remote medical training of professionals and diagnosis of patients are strong possibilities that will deliver proactive and faster treatment. Decentralization of healthcare to local centers, powered by technology, will improve efficiency and address resource scarcity.
3- Centralisation of patient data
Access to patient data is considered important to improve healthcare. The lack of electronic medical records impedes medical delivery and this issue will be addressed as a collation of data becomes easy through connected medical devices. For the transformation of patient applications to happen, patient data will need to be stored centrally, effectively turning hospitals into data centers and doctors into data scientists.
Patients will get online access to a central repository of medical records to help them easily manage the quality and efficiency of their care. 5G will allow better access to predictive algorithms that could rank patient data in the order of emergency with greater accuracy and ease.
4- Smart Emergency Response Units
With 5G, Healthcare Providers can now design ERUs to provide care outside of the traditional doctor’s clinic or hospitals. These units will provide patients with medical treatment as they are transported to the local hospital.
As 5G continues to roll out globally, EMTs will be provided with new gear and technologies to help patients in emergency response care. With a specialist’s help, general practitioners now have access to vast amounts of information, providing higher quality treatment to specific injuries not taught to a general EMT.
5- Decrease in medical errors
A local newspaper reported that medical errors are the eighth leading cause of death in Pakistan and about 7,000 people per year are estimated to die from medication errors alone. A number of factors seem responsible for this in Pakistan but the foremost reason is the lack of accountability and digitalization making it difficult for providers to understand the case histories properly.
In order to reduce medication errors, the implementation of AI & ML Technology is necessary. 5G will help healthcare system providers like InstaCare to offer providers the systems that will make their clinical decisions accurate and quick.
Threats for the healthcare industry:
With the 5G rollout, IoT, telemedicine, and new healthcare services will positively affect healthcare delivery around the world and in Pakistan. While these solutions will be great, they will come with potential data security threats.
It’s almost impossible to foresee all the future opportunities available to the healthcare industry. The Pakistani healthcare industry is constantly innovating to keep itself abreast of the latest technology trends. In the transformation of the healthcare industry, the role of HealthTech Startups is vital.
One such fast-growing startup is InstaCare which stands among the top international telemedicine systems providers. The startup is making quality healthcare accessible with its systems and consumer applications.