Latest Oscar & Associates News
Aug 24, 2021
At HIMSS21, Celona CTO Mehmet Yavuz explained some of the benefits of this up-and-coming connectivity technology. Photo: Oscar & Associates for HIMSS While hospitals are just starting to deploy private 5G networks, other industries are further into the rollout of the technology and have seen major benefits to a connectivity infrastructure that offers low latency and consistent connection quality, features that can be lacking with cellular or WiFi. At a session at HIMSS21 earlier this month, Celona CTO Mehmet Yavuz laid out some of the benefits of private enterprise 5G networks as well as some potential use cases for the healthcare sector. "Think about wireless as a highway," Yavuz said. 'You have a lot of lanes and WiFi is like those regular lanes where you have a lot of devices causing a lot of traffic. 5G and LTE are like an HOV lane. It’s a special separate lane that devices can go on as you choose. ... It’s a separate spectrum just for this service and that won’t be all these consumer devices or mobile hotspots or all these things on there." A 5G network can offer very low latency, a very wide range (a mile radius or more per base station), and consistent connection throughout a facility – no dead spots. Yavuz laid out X ways these benefits could help hospitals. 1. Clinical communication Whether doctors are using a clinical communications offering from their EHR vendor, a medical-specific vendor like Voalte or Vocera, or an enterprise technology like Apple's iMessage or Microsoft Teams, they rely on connectivity to communicate mission-critical information. That's one of the reasons the pager has held on as long as it has in healthcare. "The frontrunner at this point is clinical communications and monitoring applications," Yavuz said. "There’s a desire to have that reliable network. ... Bottom line is wherever there is mobility, someone is moving around, and you need reliable connectivity. That’s really where this solution comes into the picture." 2. Telehealth Communication outside the hospital can also be affected by the hospital's network, as long as one party is in the hospital walls. "This can be between personnel within the healthcare environment, or it can be for telemedicine," Yavuz said. "The doctor wants to have a video-conferencing session, and sometimes they experience an outage during the video conference they have with the patients. Typically their device will be connected to the WiFi at the hospital, and that link can be compromised by interference from other devices. Visitors, patients, they’re all using the same network." 3. Exterior operations During COVID-19, many hospitals set up operations that went beyond the walls of the clinic in order to support social distancing and keep staff and patients safe. "For example, with COVID we have seen a lot of these pop-up operations in the parking lot, where patients may be driving through and the healthcare professionals in those locations want a reliable connectivity for their handheld devices," Yavuz said. "So 5G provides extended outdoor coverage." 4. In-hospital retail Another use case Yavuz pointed to was point-of-sale systems for hospital gift shops and cafeterias. Even though these aren't clinical operations, long lines or delays caused by point-of-sale systems going down can negatively impact patient experience. 5. Augmented reality and virtual reality Where low latency really shines, Yavuz said, is in emerging applications that use AR and VR, especially in the surgical space. "You see that in multiple forms," he said. "One is in the operating room, where these augmented reality devices are starting to be used by doctors and other personnel. They want really low-latency for the augmented reality. And in some cases there’s remote learning. The doctor may be performing the operation and there may be other people who want to see that in real time. And they may be in front of their desktop somewhere." HIMSS21 Coverage An inside look at the innovation, education, technology, networking and key events at the HIMSS21 Global Conference & Exhibition in Las Vegas.