5G-Powered Medical Service First Step Towards Smart Hospital

by Ruth Seeley

The race is on to claim the world’s first operational smart hospital. Canada’s Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital, scheduled for completion later this year, is branding itself as a new hospital that is both patient-centric and smart. With so much technology available, it’s hard to define what, precisely, constitutes a smart hospital. But healthcare providers increasingly want to use technology to cost effectively provide better care.

Recently, Korea’s largest telecommunications firm, the KT Corporation, and the Samsung Medical Center (SMC) announced they’ve developed an innovative, 5G-powered medical service as the first step in establishing a 5G smart hospital.

For the pilot project, KT built an enterprise-dedicated 5G network at the SMC, created service environments in operating and proton therapy rooms, and conducted a test operation. Based on the project’s outcome, the two parties plan to continue to develop smart patient care and 5G-powered innovative medical practices and improve hospital operational efficiency.

“KT, in partnership with the Samsung Medical Center, is pioneering innovative medical services for the new 5G era,” said Park In-Young, Vice President of KT’s ICT Convergence Business Department. “We will continue to further refine 5G-powered medical technology by applying VR and AR technologies for real-time education.”

The partners have been applying 5G on site to create better medical services since they signed a memorandum of understanding in September 2019. These services include digital diagnostic pathology, access to proton therapy information, teaching surgery, an artificial intelligence-enabled care for in-patients, and an autonomous robot for an operating room.

Access to Digital Data and Video Footage

The 5G-powered digital pathological analysis conducted by SMC is a world-first example of innovation using 5G technology for on-site medical procedures.

Speedy and uninterrupted access to pathological data obtained during surgery, which is critical in determining the conditions of patients, is provided by a 5G network with ultra-high speed and ultra-low latency. The network allows the Pathology Department to gain access to materials, each containing about 4GB of data, ensuring better medical services. The 5G network will cut analysis time by the almost 20 minutes it currently takes to take and transport tissue samples from the operating room to next-door pathology labs.

The network also provides speedy access to CT and MRI data on proton therapy, saving pathologists a kilometer-long walk to the proton therapy center to download files, which can be accessed from anywhere within the medical center via the new 5G network.

Surgery Education Away from the Operating Room

The  5G-assisted education program enables surgeons in the operating room to teach a large group of medical trainees in a separate lecture room using sync cams that provide voice and high-quality video footage from the perspective of the surgeons in real time.

Robots for Operating Room Assistance; AI for In-Patient Care

A delivery robot developed for operating rooms can remove contaminated materials and other medical waste for disposal. The autonomous robot can also bring in surgery supplies.

Robots for operating room assistance will reduce secondary and tertiary infection which occurs through contact with medical waste and save human resource costs in waste disposal. Moreover, 5G-enabled massive connectivity minimizes disruption and latency in data exchange with robots and terminals.

Smart Care Giver is an innovative AI-assisted system of in-patient care. It provides AI services on KT’s GiGAGenie engine, enabling patients to control their hospital room with a voice command, and with their permission checking their medical condition so medical staff can respond more efficiently to patient emergencies.

5G-Powered Smart Hospital

Collaboration between KT and the Samsung Medical Center will continue beyond the development of innovative medical service during this year, with Professor Park Seung-Woo in charge of the smart hospital project at the SMC.

Source: KT Corp.

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