In common with the rest of the UK the West Midlands needs to reduce pressure on health and care systems, helping citizens to better manage their own health. 5G is a key component; providing the connectivity to deliver care and support away from the clinic and in the community or at home.
To shape our thinking, we have continued working with health practitioners and commissioners from across the region. We’re engaged with major hospital, community and mental health trusts, primary care practices and networks, the ambulance trust and clinical commissioning groups.
Out of a series of engagement events, and informed by the changing demands created by COVID-19, we are currently focused on three priority project areas:
- remote monitoring and support of care home patients
- home delivery of endoscopy services to help tackle bowel cancer
- connected ambulances to improve at-scene and in-transit care
Common to all these application areas is the need for the transfer of high quality data and images at the same time as patient engagement via video consultation or more immersive technologies. 5G provides the performance necessary to support these improvements in healthcare efficiency and deliver patient benefits by enabling access to expert care at the point of need wherever that is – in the home or at an incident.
For example, in our care home project we are already helping GPs across the region deliver ‘virtual ward rounds’ using sophisticated but easy to use diagnostic tools placed in the care home which a GP can utilise from a remote location. This ensures we minimise exposure to COVID-19 and other possible infections and GPs can also respond quickly to any identified issues avoiding unnecessary hospital visits for frail and elderly patients.
In our endoscopy project we are hoping to take this a stage further, using 5G to allow an important diagnostic test to be undertaken in the comfort of the patient’s home, with a virtual link to the consultant, and avoiding hospital visits which place a pressure on the hospital and are inconvenient for patients.
To find out how to get involved please get in touch.