The Relationship Between 5g Data and Modern Healthcare Essay Example
Fifth generation data, commonly known as 5G data, has the potential to start an entirely new wave of objects that are interconnected and IoT-enabled, allowing common items to communicate with each other and share information. As 5G data becomes more developed over time, it could be employed in sensors, put into the body or into wearable devices, to monitor real-time health levels (de Mattos & Gondim, 2016). For people with chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, bone disorders, mental illnesses, and more, continuous monitoring of their vitals and specific measures of the body is important to track in order to keep them alive and healthy (LLoret, Parra, Taha, & Tomás, 2017). With the promises of 5G data’s new capabilities, sensors would be able to be embedded in something as simple as a watch to observe heartbeat, blood sugar levels, blood oxygen level, etc. (Mavromoustakis et al., 2016, p. 11). Not only could it track vitals, but the sensors would also transmit data to doctors and hospitals and could be the difference between life and death.
Background of the Study
This essay focuses on healthcare for chronic diseases in particular because it is something that hits very close to home for me. When I was growing up, a big part of my family’s life was helping take care of my grandmother. My grandmother had diabetes and cancer and testing her blood and other vitals was crucial and had to be done several times a day. In addition to two chronic diseases, she was also blind, so testing herself was very hard and required a lot of help from others around her. Despite us helping, it was not uncommon for her to be hospitalized because of it, often for days at a time.
We did not have the ability to store and track her health and it was hard to calculate the amount of insulin that she needed to take because her blood sugar fluctuated so often because of her other medicines. Even the hospitals had a hard time diagnosing her because her data varied so much and we had no record of past levels of glucose. Perhaps if there had been better systems to monitor her health and help her and our family to track her vitals, it would have been easier for her to live without constant hospitalization, as well as made it easier for healthcare professionals to verify that she is taking the correct medicine and the correct dosage, as well as receiving the best treatments. Another reason that I chose this topic is that the link between the new and upcoming 5G data is a relatively unexplored topic and the connection between the two seemingly different industries is not something that has been investigated in depth.
5G data began its journey in 2013 when China’s government established the International Mobile Telecommunication 2020 (5G) Promotion Group or IMT-2020(5G) for short. Following China’s footsteps and hoping to get a jumpstart on the new wave of data, Europe initiated a similar program the same year, named the 5G Public-Private Partnership (5G PPP). By 2015, the two groups had merged their ideals to announce that they would be working together on 5G research and released a memo of understanding and what they hoped 5G data could accomplish (de Mattos & Gondim, 2016). As 5G research continued, it was expected to have low latency, peak data rates, massive bandwidths, and highly integrative systems, as well as vastly expand the IoT system (King, 2016).
As 5G data’s visions became more defined, it became more and more obvious to those experimenting on it that 5G data would not be merely an incremental advancement of 4G data. It would be an entirely different system which promised to integrate LTE data, Wi-Fi, millimeter wave, and other wireless technologies. There are four important divergences between 5G data and its predecessors, including, but not limited to being less expensive, having a higher interconnectedness of common devices and having extremely fast and intelligent networks. These qualities open the door to a fully connected and interactive world with a variety of potential uses (West, 2016, p. 2). Although 5G data is a relatively new topic in the technology world, by the end of 2020, it is estimated that billions of IoT-enabled devices will be running off 5G data and software (Mavromoustakis et al., 2016, p. 11).
It is estimated that more than 40% of Americans suffer from such a chronic illness. Depending on the illness that an individual has, they must receive daily, weekly, monthly, and annual tests and exams conducted to ensure they are staying healthy and properly taking care of themselves and in certain cases, have to be hospitalized in order to have their vitals, such as blood sugar, heart rate, blood sugar, etc. checked. The importance of these tests could mean the difference between life or death. Focusing on diabetes, in particular, if you fail to test your blood sugar, it could cause hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, loss of consciousness, kidney damage, blindness, nerve damage, seizures, and even death. Observing glucose levels is essential for staying healthy and alive, but testing glucose levels can be difficult to do at home. In fact, for those with diabetes 1.0, their blood levels need to be tested manually and thus are forced to be almost constantly hospitalized (Yang, et al., 2018). Having any type of chronic disease can be quite costly, as well as limit the daily activities of patients because of the numerous hospital visits, expensive equipment, medicine, and more.
With 5G’s possibilities of high interconnectedness and faster, more secure networks and the promises of connecting computing equipment with systems at a much cheaper price, it has the capability to transform the health industry. Its ability to enable small devices to perform high-level computations and connect quickly to processing power (West, 2016, p. 2) could allow patients to own small devices (such as the wearable devices that those with diabetes 2.0 wear) that can be worn or implanted so that patients could send their data to hospitals instantly. Having such devices could help save people by allowing their vitals to be monitored during times when a person cannot be constantly vigilant- while they are asleep, not at home, or even if they simply forgot to check.
Not only would 24/7 monitoring become a reality and not just a dream, but it would also equip healthcare professionals with the technology to remotely track people who need constant monitoring. In addition to around-the-clock monitoring, the devices could open the door to tailored medical plans and treatments. Because the devices could store and send data to databases, it could store people’s individual data over a long period of time to establish a standard of what is considered normal for each individual. This standard could help establish when something abnormal is happening and alert the patient, family members, or the hospital. The implantable or worn sensor could also perform calculations of how much medicine is needed and send that information to a phone, tablet, computer, etc. to reduce the error that occurs when individuals make those calculations themselves (for example- how much insulin is needed after the blood sugar level is measured). It would also reduce out of pocket costs for patients because it would decrease hospital visits as well as make the equipment more affordable.
Because 5G data is so new compared to 3G or 4G, there is not a lot of research available and it has not yet been employed in any of the cases where it is believed it could be used. As of today, research linking 5G data and healthcare was scarce but all sources seemed very optimistic that it has the potential to revolutionize our current ideals of state-of-the-art healthcare. In the future, when 5G data is more developed and the devices are actually manufactured, future research can be conducted as to if the positive effects are actually what are predicted. Studies could be organized to study the accuracy of the health sensors and if they truly increase the quality of life and the treatment for patients with chronic diseases or illnesses that need to be constantly monitored.
5G data and its capacity to link systems together will embed its way into our lives in countless ways, including our healthcare industry. As the population of the world grows, healthcare is looking for better alternatives to keep people healthy and alive and are desperately searching for new options and technology to help them. Fifth generation data may very well prove to be the solution to achieving the breakthroughs that healthcare desires and needs. With 5G’s possibilities of small-scale implantable and wearable sensors and equipment with the power to connect to other devices, the treatment of chronic disease, as well as other syndromes and diseases, will prove to be something that will without a doubt change people’s lives. These sensors will provide relief to people with chronic illnesses that have the need for around-the-clock surveillance of their health and usher in a new wave of tailored medical treatments, long term tracking of health, and the promise of further benefits that have not ever been thought of before.
Chen, M., Yang, J., Zhou, J., Hao, Y., Zhang, J., & Youn, C. H. (2018). 5G-smart diabetes: toward personalized diabetes diagnosis with healthcare big data clouds. IEEE Communications Magazine, 56(4), 16-23.
de Mattos, W. D., & Gondim, P. R. (2016). M-health solutions using 5G networks and M2M communications. IT Professional, 18(3), 24-29.
King, I. (2016). 5G Networks Will Do Much More Than Stream Better Cat Videos. Bloomberg News.
Lloret, J., Parra, L., Taha, M., & Tomás, J. (2017). An architecture and protocol for smart continuous eHealth monitoring using 5G. Computer Networks, 129, 340-351.
Mavromoustakis, C. X., Mastorakis, G., & Batalla, J. M. (Eds.). (2016). Internet of Things (IoT) in 5G mobile technologies (Vol. 8). Springer.
West, D. M. (2016). How 5G technology enables the health internet of things. Brookings Center for Technology Innovation, 3, 1-20.