PRESS RELEASE: The world’s first 5G medical private network was commercially unveiled at the West China Second University Hospital affiliated to Sichuan University in China’s southwestern Sichuan Province in November 2019. Initiated by China’s healthcare authorities, this achievement is the result of collaboration between the hospital, China Mobile, and Chinese telecom giant Huawei, and represents a major breakthrough for China Mobile in promoting in-depth 5G applications in the medical industry through close collaboration with leading medical enterprises. Multiple 5G smart healthcare applications were also made public on the same day.

5G medical private networks are purpose-built in hospitals and enhanced with mobile edge computing (MEC) devices to leverage network slicing technology, achieving full integration among cloud, networks, and services. This places them in a unique position from the perspective of the high data rates, low latency, and massive connectivity required to provide personalized network services in hospitals. Such performance exceeds that offered by standard networks with improved coverage, maintainability, and resistance to interference. As a result, hospitals will be empowered to provide real-time medical examinations while ensuring flexible equipment mobility, intelligent medical services, and data security. Consultation time will be greatly reduced for patients and consultation efficiency will be significantly improved for doctors.

World’s First 5G Medical Private Network

5G medical private networks are based on the fifth generation of mobile communications technology. Relying on private gateways, they combine with 5G slicing and edge computing technologies to meet the connection, computing, and security requirements of medical services. With this in mind, China Mobile introduced special information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure on top of 5G networks for its medical customers, aiming to help them complete on-premises data processing and full-hospital network access with flexible bandwidth adjustment and slicing deployment.

Situational awareness of 5G medical private networks

5G MEC is a core technology that enables local service processing and edge service mobility in close proximity to users over 5G medical private networks. It plays an essential role in minimizing service latency and improving operational efficiency with enhanced distribution and transmission capabilities while ensuring that service experiences remain optimal for users and new services can be supported by adapting edge networks to the location of service occurrence. Taking the above features into account, 5G MEC will be an indispensable tool for many other types of 5G services in the future.

5G Smart Hospital Brain

Walking into the West China Second University Hospital, patients are first greeted by a detailed 3D model of the hospital on a huge screen. This model is actually a smart management system, the brain of the 5G smart hospital, integrating asset-heavy digital information of the entire hospital and delivering real-time situations of different functional areas and complete smart asset management at a glance. Such data includes the number of patients waiting for services, those receiving care and diagnosis, as well as the number of doctors on duty. This service facilitates fast and accurate resource allocation among different areas, time periods, and service terminals within the hospital by taking full advantage of network slicing capabilities.

5G smart hospital brain

720° panoramic cameras help deliver 24/7 trace identification, tracking, and positioning throughout the hospital, resulting in a round-the-clock, zero-delay security for those coming to this hospital seeking medical assistance. Such protection is achieved thanks to the rapid and stable data transmission of 5G networks.

5G + VR for Real-Time Visits to NICU

A neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) provides intensive care for ill or premature newborn infants. Visits from their parents are strictly limited, causing anxiety which in some cases can affect treatment. Thanks to the joint efforts of China Mobile, Skyworth, and the West China Second University Hospital, this problem will soon become a thing of the past. Parents can now avail of real-time visits to newborn infants in the NICU using specialized 5G + VR medical devices.

Visiting NICU newborns with 5G + VR devices

Multiple HD panoramic cameras are deployed in the NICU to capture video, which is then streamed in real time over the hospital 5G network to the cloud platform where it is distributed to VR devices. Through the use of VR headsets, parents can experience the NICU as if they were actually present, helping to reduce their stress and anxiety.

5G Neonatal Transit: In-Hospital Services in Ambulances

Owing to the power of 5G, ambulances are upgraded to small mobile hospitals during neonatal transfers. Utilizing specialized equipment, newborn vital signs can be accurately monitored, with the results immediately uploaded to hospitals, enabling doctors to complete urgent remote care. Upon arrival at the hospital, treatment can begin immediately without extra preparations, buying valuable time for the patient. In the future, remote B-mode ultrasound examinations and surgical operations will be enabled on the ambulances during neonatal transit missions.

5G Smart Guidance Robot

The hospital has also welcomed a brand-new smart employee – a 5G-powered robot capable of providing smart consultancy guidance services. Thanks to China Mobile’s Cloud Brain, such smart robots are not required to locally handle all complex operations, such as semantic recognition and image recognition, allowing for responsive, efficient exchanges with users over low-latency 5G networks. Through voice instructions and touchscreen, patients will be able to access consultancy services, medical knowledge, and even entertainment content. As hospital department information and maps are stored on the cloud, these smart robots can provide consultancy distribution and location navigation, assisting medical staff with improved service provisioning.

Smart 5G robot guiding patients through medical consultancy

5G is transforming our society with improved services. The debut of the world’s first 5G medical private network and associated medical applications heralds the arrival of 5G smart applications in the medical industry on a much larger scale. In the future, China Mobile will continue to promote the integration of mobile network technology with the medical industry to facilitate convenient and high quality medical services.