eHealth involves healthcare being supported by electronic processes. Examples for medical practitioners include the online sharing of health records and the use of Clinical Decision Support Systems, based on existing protocols, to guide the decision-making process of practitioners. 5G could also assist in parts the automatation of the care of patients so that it is quicker and cheaper, and reduces work pressure away from healthcare staff.
Examples of the benefits of eHealth for patients include online medical information, as well as smartwatches and mobile health apps that could help diagnose diseases such as skin cancer. eHealth can also improve the daily life of patients and help them to stay healthy by providing them with easy access to healthcare.
5G has the potential to improve eHealth as it is not only quicker and more stable than previous generations but also gives the possibility of using network capacities more extensively. One particular benefit of 5G for eHealth is the improved possibilities for at-home monitoring of patients with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, asthma or high blood pressure – enabling the continuous observation of patients‘ health by doctors. This would improve the patients‘ quality of life and reduce costs, as there would be less need for hospitalisations. While at-home monitoring is already available under 4G, the development of 5G will make it possible for a much larger group of patients to benefit from it.
Example for a clinical application where low latency is crucial: