Why 5G matters for healthcare

One central barrier stands in the way of reliable, instantaneous telecommunication, according to Dr. Shafiq Rab, chief information officer at Rush University System for Health: internet bandwidth.

The same limitation that makes an internet connection feel slower when trying to download data-heavy files or when multiple users are working on the same network presents a hurdle for burgeoning medical practices like physician-to-physician consultations, at-home monitoring and video-based telemedicine.

“When you go into a crowded place, there are 20 people with everybody going, ‘I can’t download this, I can’t download this,’ ” Rab said as an example. “All those things are limited by bandwidth.”

That’s why Rush, an academic health system in Chicago, plans to be the first U.S. healthcare organization to formally try using 5G—the newest generation of wireless internet—in a hospital setting. 

5G internet connectivity is expected to revolutionize nearly every industry. President Donald Trump has been one of its top advocates, calling 5G deployment a “race America must win” during a briefing last month. As part of his remarks, Trump pledged to take steps to encourage local governments and telecom companies to invest in 5G.

“5G will be as much as 100 times faster than the current 4G cellular networks,” Trump said, according to a White House transcript. “It will transform the way our citizens work, learn, communicate and travel. It will make American farms more productive, American manufacturing more competitive, and American healthcare better and more accessible.”

And health IT experts say that may, indeed, happen.

On a 5G network, a user could load a webpage or download a file somewhere between 10 and 100 times faster than today. Most major smartphone developers plan to release devices that support 5G connectivity this year—in fact, a handful already have—making it possible 5G service will be broadly available in the U.S. by 2020.

That makes Rush one of the “pioneers” of 5G, according to Rab. “But I think by the end of this year, it will become popular everywhere,” he added.

By Jessica Kim Cohen | Modern Healthcare

Image Credit: Rush University Medical Center


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Peter Coffaro is a growth-driven and strategic executive with over 25 years of progressive management success in the medical device industry. With a proven track record and recognized expertise, Peter has established himself as one of the top influencers in medical sales, as acknowledged by prestigious publications such as the World Journal of Orthopedics, Exponential Healthtech, and MedReps.com. Throughout his career, Peter has accumulated 10 years of combined sales management experience, excelling in various roles including Director, General Manager, Distributor, and Vice President. He has worked for industry-leading orthopedic companies such as Zimmer, DePuy, and Stryker, solidifying his deep knowledge and network within the field. Peter’s passion for innovation and emerging technologies led him to found OrthoFeed, an award-winning blog covering digital orthopedic news and emerging medical technologies. Through this platform, he stays at the forefront of the industry and contributes to the dissemination of valuable insights. Peter is a three-time Hall of Fame award winner at Johnson and Johnson, demonstrating his exceptional contributions and impact on the organization. His expertise extends to areas such as organizational development, business development, sales management, digital marketing, and professional education. Peter earned a B.S. degree in Biology and Chemistry from Northern Illinois University, further complementing his comprehensive understanding of the medical field. With his wealth of experience, strategic mindset, and dedication to advancing healthcare, Peter Coffaro is a valuable asset and leader in the medical device industry.

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