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Virgin Media O2 announces first 5G connected hospital

Written by Fri 8 Jul 2022

NHS Tech

Technology is increasingly playing a role in hospitals across the world with innovations improving the quality of care for patients. Virgin Media O2 Business recently turned on the first 5G-enabled hospital in the UK with the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

Thanks to the launch of the private 5G network, a range of Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions are being trialled in two wards at Bethlem Royal Hospital in South London. IoT devices will be used for several purposes including remotely monitoring medicine to ensure it is stored at the correct temperature, helping to reduce costly waste.

Air quality and the occupancy rates of desks and meeting rooms inside the hospital will also be tracked through IoT. According to Kester Mann, technology analyst and Director of Consumer and Connectivity at CCS Insight, this project represents a major step forward for both the UK telecoms and healthcare sectors.

“Dedicated 5G in hospitals can open the door to a range of new applications such as real-time tracking of patients’ conditions, remote support and round-the-clock monitoring of medicines and equipment,” he said.

“Its high throughput and low-latency characteristics can also improve the efficiency and security of existing operations, making healthcare services smarter, more accurate and more effective,” adds Mann.

Perhaps the most impactful innovation this trial is bringing to the Bethlem Royal Hospital is the ability for staff to gain access to virtually instant e-Observations. By using iPad-like handheld devices, staff can do everything from viewing and updating patient records to using an AI solution that creates anonymised heat maps from CCTV images to improve the planning of public places.

On a more practical level, IT staff at the hospital can access an AR tool to make use of expert maintenance support from other hospitals.

Written by Fri 8 Jul 2022


5g AI IoT
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