The UK’s West Midlands 5G testbed (WM5G) has conducted its first demonstration of ambulances equipped with 5G connectivity.
WM5G, established jointly by the West Midlands Combined Authority and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to deliver 5G strategy across the region, partnered with University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) to conduct the demonstration of a 5G ambulance at UHB’s simulation facility. The demonstration, designed to serve as a real world example of the ways in which 5G connectivity can facilitate the work of public and emergency services, saw paramedics conduct an ultrasound scan on a patient with real time remote guidance from a clinician viewing the ambulance through a 5G connection.
UHB Chief Innovation Officer Tim Jones said: “Our clinicians will in the future be able to deliver holistic specialist advice in real time, potentially forming virtual multidisciplinary teams to provide the best patient care using intelligent IT links. Information would be accessible at the point of need, ensuring informed decision-making leading to improved patient safety, quality of care and patient/clinician experience.”
By enabling clinicians to view images of patients in ambulances remotely and provide triage and advice in real time, it is hoped that 5G-enabled ambulances will both accelerate the diagnostic process and potentially reduce the number of ambulance journeys needed. By speeding up diagnoses, patients will benefit from prompt outcomes and hospitals’ efficiency figures are projected to rise.
Andy Street, mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “We have seen today how 5G has the potential to save patients’ lives, but its new power and technology can also help grow our cutting edge industries that will create the jobs of tomorrow. 5G will be the backbone of our future economy and society, with local people here in the West Midlands reaping the benefits first.”