The innovative new pilot scheme launched in the West Midlands aiming to give patients the ability to undergo a procedure to detect the causes of digestive or stomach complaints in the privacy of their homes has been featured in The Times healthcare supplement.

West Midlands 5G (WM5G), NHS Arden and GEM CSU, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, and CorporateHealth International trialled how a pill-sized camera, enabled by 5G could be used to deliver a colon capsule endoscopy (CCE) at home under medical guidance.

Although this kind of device has been available to patients for around 15 years, self-administration at home has not yet been trialled at scale, with 5G connectivity the hope is to make more widespread adoption of this technology possible.

In addition to real-time transmission of the images captured, faster 5G internet will also enables the use of a ‘virtual assistant’ that can provide answers and guidance to the patient while clinicians can track and monitors the equipment throughout the process. It is anticipated the adoption of 5G to enable home testing will reduce waiting times and speed up the process of identifying irregularities and any subsequent treatment. 

Ramesh Arasaradnam OBE, Senior gastroenterologist at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, said: “Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in the UK with around 20,000 deaths each year. We also know that if detected early, the prognosis is good.’’

“Through the application of 5G technology, it is feasible that patients can swallow the capsule and undertake the whole process in the comfort of their own homes. As we strive to build the evidence base, we believe that many of these procedures could potentially be undertaken each year easing the burden on the NHS and reducing stress and uncertainty for patients.”

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