Transforming Emergency Medical Services with 5G

Transforming Emergency Medical Services with 5G

Imagine it is midnight, and an ambulance is speeding down the street, sirens wailing. The person who called the emergency services is pleading, "Help!" "He needs medical attention right now!" "Get here quickly!" Worried about the patient, people are shouting while the paramedics put him on a stretcher and take him to the ambulance. A portable ultrasound device, the size of smartphone, is switched on.

In the hospital's command center for remote emergency medical response, specialists are now watching a live video on a big screen and monitoring the incoming ultrasound image as paramedics perform an abdominal ultrasound on the patient.

Who is the patient? What is the emergency? What is his medical history? The paramedics use facial recognition technology to identify the patient, search for him in the database, and retrieve his medical record. It looks like a transfusion is urgently needed. The emergency response team send a blood sample from the patient using the UAV on the ambulance, allowing it to be tested before the patient arrives at the hospital.

This may sound like science fiction, but it's not. Such cases will soon become reality in the medical industry.

Smart healthcare, enabled by 5G, is currently being used for emergency medical services.

As the shift to 5G wireless communication accelerates, smart healthcare has the potential to save precious time and save more lives. China Mobile Zhejiang and the Second Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine have built China's first 5G-enabled remote emergency medical response system. By leveraging high-speed, low-latency 5G networks, the system integrates multiple sub-systems, including 5G-enabled remote ultrasound, emergency medical response command centers, and immersive VR diagnosis and treatment sub-systems. The use of 5G networks enables a real-time, reliable, and remote emergency medical response system.

In the 5G remote emergency medical response command center at the hospital's Binjiang campus, staff wearing VR glasses can see everything the paramedics can see on the ambulance. Data about patients' vital signs is transmitted to the hospital in real time. ECG, ultrasound images, blood pressure, heart rate, SpO2, and body temperature are all sent over 5G and displayed on the big screen in the command center. Hospital staff can identify a patient, retrieve their medical record, monitor their condition in real time, and send instructions to the paramedics on the ambulance.

5G-powered remote ultrasound at The Second Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine

For an effective remote diagnosis, the video has to be live streamed at minimum of 1080p and 30FPS, meaning demanding bandwidth and latency requirements. In the case of remote ultrasound and remote emergency medical care, latency has to be less than 10ms and bandwidth has to be over 50Mbit/s, with no packet loss or frame loss. If the existing transport network does not meet these requirements, live stream quality will be poor, which could lead to a misdiagnosis or a delay in treatment.

To enable these services, China Mobile Zhejiang deployed 5G technologies, such as 50GE and FlexE, to revamp its existing transport network.

With FlexE, China Mobile Zhejiang was able to divide a physical network slice into multiple logical slices. Remote ultrasound for the hospital now runs in a dedicated slice, with dedicated network resources that are free of interference from other network traffic. The access layer, aggregation layer, and core layer are all contained within one slice, ensuring the latency and bandwidth necessary to enable remote ultrasound. Therefore, this improves the work efficiency of the hospital staff.

The transport network is leading the way in the shift towards 5G. The successful application of smart healthcare by the hospital and the telecom operator demonstrated that Huawei's packet transport network (PTN) solution supports the smooth evolution of existing networks towards 5G.

Huawei will continue working with China Mobile Zhejiang to come up with innovative services that can meet customer requirements. We will also continue to roll out new technologies and new features in order to build a world-leading, 5G transport network that allows the operator to launch more innovative 5G services and achieve market success.

The advent of smart healthcare will transform the healthcare industry and enable real-time, professional, and faster medical response times to the challenges facing the industry. It will also enable efficient resource pooling and regional information sharing and collaboration.