Vodafone publishes report on 5G for healthcare
Vodafone has published a report on 5G and the Internet of Things for health and social care, including recommendations to policymakers. The report noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has catalysed the digital transformation of the UK National Health Service (NHS) as it has faced a huge increase in demand for remote care. A poll conducted by Vodafone found that 57% of people say they would be comfortable to have some medical appointments remotely via online video consultation rather than going to a hospital even after the pandemic. Stable Internet connection and speeds, as well as other IT infrastructure, are a prerequisite for online video consultations for health and social care. The report pointed out that many care homes in the UK have yet to install appropriate connectivity that allows their residents to access online medical services and stay in touch with their friends and family. Vodafone’s poll suggests that three quarters of respondents support the idea that the government should invest to increase the use of digital technology in the NHS and UK healthcare sector. Moreover, 71% of respondents said it is very or quite important for new hospitals to be equipped with the latest digital technology, including 5G. Based on research and surveys, Vodafone’s recommendations include that the government should invest £1 billion to connect every hospital to 5G networks by 2025, and additional £500 million to encourage the creation of 5G healthcare applications through regional innovation centres. It also recommended the government to invest £10 million in digitising 10 ambulances per ambulance trust in England, with the aim of all of these ambulances being equipped by the end of 2021. Furthermore, the report called on the government to make investment in technologies and infrastructure, such as drones, prescribing technological solutions, connectivity, and smartphones.