Consumers to take more control over monitoring health with wearables when 5G improves reliability and security
Next generation networks will be pivotal in healthcare transformation, providing transmission efficiency in an ecosystem of feedback and alerts, mobility and low latency, according to a new report from Ericsson.
The networks will become a vehicle for a range of applications, including remote monitoring through medical-grade wearables, virtual doctor-patient interaction, and remotely operated robotic surgery, showed Ericsson’s latest ConsumerLab report, From Healthcare to Homecare. The report reveals consumer insights on the impact of 5G on the future of healthcare and its transformation across preventative, routine and post-operative care.
Key findings include the decentralisation of healthcare moving from hospitals towards homes. Also, that patient data is becoming more centralized, turning hospitals into data centres.
Increasing dependence on wearables and remote treatments makes 5G essential to provide reliable and secure services. Evolving consumer expectations, anytime patient data access, and increased internet use are also making way for non-traditional players to disrupt the healthcare industry.
This report covers insights from an online survey of 4,500 advanced smartphone and mobile broadband users in Germany, Japan, South Korea, the UK and the US plus an online survey of 900 decision makers across six industries in these countries: healthcare, insurance, medical technology companies, telecom operators, app developers/aggregators and government regulatory bodies.
Consumers are frustrated with inconveniences and doctor wait times; 39% of chronic patients prefer online consultations to face-to-face meetings. Close to two in three consumers say wearables that monitor and administer medication are important to better manage chronic ailments, leading to reduced visits to the doctor. More than half of cross-industry decision makers feel decentralising healthcare to local centres will improve efficiency and address resource scarcity.
Altogether, 35% of consumers say that online access to a central repository of medical records will help them easily manage the quality and efficiency of their care; 45% of cross-industry experts consider the central repository as a breakthrough in healthcare provisioning. Access to patient data is considered important to improve healthcare. Doctors will become data scientists and data security will become paramount, as 46% of cross-industry decision makers already consider data security to be an issue.
Also, 56% of consumers worry about their wearable health patches running out of battery; 42% of cross-industry decision makers expect devices connected to 5G networks to consume less power.
Meanwhile, 61% of consumers say remote robotic surgery is risky as it relies on the internet; and 35% of cross-industry decision makers expect 5G to provide reliable low latency connections, and 47% of telecom decision makers say that secure access to an online central repository is a key challenge and expect 5G to address this.