5G isn’t just about using the internet faster – it could also save lives, and there’s no clearer example of that than in the trials that Vodafone has announced it’s carrying out with Proximie (a global health technology business and platform).
Proximie (the platform) allows clinicians and surgeons to remotely access operating rooms or catheterisation labs from anywhere in the world, so they can assist with training or oversee surgeries, and currently the platform is being trialled over Vodafone’s 5G network in the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, and University Hospital Llandough.
This is more than just a video feed though. Proximie allows clinicians to virtually attend the operating room, combining technologies like augmented reality and AI, so that they can, for example, have their hands superimposed on the video feed of a patient’s anatomy, so they can give precise instructions of the kind you’d usually need to be there in person for.
Proximie also allows for notes, sketches, and anatomical diagrams to be overlayed. Of course, as you can imagine when it comes to something as serious as surgery, having fast, seamless connectivity for a platform like this is vital, and that’s why 5G is such an important technology for it.
Shorter waits and better care
Vodafone states that the trials – which are used both in surgery and to provide colonoscopy training to nurses – have been successful so far, and they should allow for more patients to be seen in a shorter time, as well as ensuring that every patient has access to the best possible healthcare.
During the ongoing pandemic this sort of technology is even more important, since it allows training to be carried out without people having to travel or be in the same room, but even post-Covid it’s clear that Proximie and similar services could have a real impact on healthcare – with the help of 5G.
This isn’t the first trial of 5G’s potential in healthcare either. Vodafone for its part has previously built a standalone 5G network at Coventry University, which is being used to support training for student nurses and allied health professionals, while the NHS has trialled the use of 5G to remotely monitor patients in their own homes.