5G for healthcare
Digital technologies such as 5G mobile communication, artificial intelligence and supercomputing offer new opportunities to transform the way we receive and provide health and care services. The research on e-health in 5G-HEART is targeting the vision of enabling a “Hospital without walls”.
The 5G-HEART project has explored this vision through three major use cases: Remote interventional support, colon capsule for early anomaly detection, and remote monitoring of patients and workers with advanced geo-location.
5G for transport
Communication between the vehicles, infrastructure, cloud and other road users is crucial to increase the safety of future automated vehicles and their full integration in the overall transport system. 5G is expected to meet the requirements of various advanced use cases of the transport vertical through enhanced wireless connectivity and increased automation.
The transport vertical trials in the 5G-HEART project are structured under four high-level use case categories, which study the capability of current 5G technologies to support vehicle platooning, automated and assisted driving, remote driving, and vehicle data services.
5G for aquaculture
Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing food production sectors in the world and is an increasingly important contributor to economic growth and global food supply. Utilisation of new/emerging technologies and innovations in the monitoring and management systems for controlling and improving the feeding of the fist can enable economically, environmentally and socially sustainable aquaculture development throughout EU and generate enhanced public and investor confidence in European aquaculture.
The aquaculture vertical trials of the 5G-HEART project are implemented in Greece and Norway focusing on the utilisation of sensor, camera and communication technologies in the automation of the fish farm processes.
Use case H1A – Educational surgery
Advanced 5G technology with real-time video can extend in-hospital coverage and enable faster reaction times. It can be used for primary treatment, novel and safer ways for consulting and education. The 5G-HEART project studied the feasibility of using 5G in educational surgery using advanced mobile video solutions.
The objectives for this use case included the application and network level feasibility testing of 360-degree single lens cameras and wearable camera technology in remote education utilising live streaming, testing and verification of the benefits of 5G in live low latency streaming, and piloting of the use case in real hospital environment.
Use case H1B – Remote ultrasound with 5G
Ultrasound examination of the heart is a complex task, demanding substantial experience from the healthcare professional to correctly perform and interpret the examination. In smaller healthcare centres, the availability of these trained and experienced healthcare professionals is scarce, especially outside of daytime. Neonates with signs and symptoms warranting ultrasound examination of the heart are born in healthcare centres across the globe at a steady pace. This creates the problem of meeting the demand for ultrasound examinations of the heart, compared to the supply of healthcare workers competent of properly performing the examination.
The objectives for this use case included the assessment of remotely guided ultrasound of the heart, over the cellular network, where an expert in cardiac ultrasound can sit in one geographical location and give an experienced opinion to a colleague examining a patient elsewhere. In addition, a tele-operated robotic system using master-slave configuration to perform ultrasound examinations of the heart in a similar setting was developed with the remote expert sonographer manipulating the robot via 5G connection.
Use case H1C – 5G for remote paramedic support
Ambulance services are striving towards healthcare with higher quality and possibly better cost-effectiveness. Increasingly more and more ambulance services wish to improve pre-hospital triage, and for this purpose it is important to make correct and timely decisions in emergencies. The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of an ambulance service may be remotely consulted for decision-making in rare or difficult emergency situations. If a paramedic can use wearable video-audio and share a patient’s vital parameters or even ultrasound images, the remote CMO can see the same patient context that the paramedic sees, help accelerate diagnosis and improve decision-making. This will lead to accelerated patient treatment, improved outcomes, reduced travel, cost savings and higher efficiencies.
The objectives for this use case included the application-level testing and verification on how usable remote video services are for use by ambulance professionals, testing and verification of how well 5G may deliver the related video traffic, and testing and verification of how 5G network slicing may guarantee radio network resource for the delivery of video traffic in co-existence with other competing traffic.
Use case H1D – Urban search and rescue
As a part of the 5G-HEART project, a pilot was conducted to evaluate if wearable video can improve decision-making and outcomes in Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) scenarios. The pilot was conducted with paramedics especially trained in USAR. During the pilot, commercial networks were used for internet connectivity in the Oslo area.
The objective of the pilots was to support paramedics playing the roles of searchers and technicians with remote incident commanders. In the pilot, the incident commander could see the situation through the searcher’s eyes and was able to interact with the searcher. The live point-of-view video enabled the remote commander to immerse themselves in the situation. As a result, the remote commander could supervise and support the searcher with improved decision making.
Use case H2A – Automatic pill camera anomaly detection
Colon cancer, which is mostly developed from polyps, is the second most common cause of cancer mortality. Early detection and removal of polyps in the colon is crucial for prevention. There is a strong need for a cost and time-effective, accurate screening method, so that the colonoscopy expertise may be utilised for interventional procedures such as polypectomy and tissue sampling.
5G can be the key for the creation of an effective infrastructure that can automatically transmit videos from the pill camera to a secure cloud where an AI-based detection algorithm performs real-time detection and provides feedback to the pill camera to optimise image capturing.
Use case H3A+B – Remote patient monitoring with wearable sensors
A Direct-to-Cloud (D2C), vital-signs patch is a smart band-aid that measures a patient’s vital-signs 24/7 and communicates these directly through the cellular network. This way doctors can keep a tab on their patients, no matter where they are, potentially supported by AI algorithms running in the cloud.
The key objective was to assess the feasibility of the D2C vital-signs patch concept, addressing the key challenges of battery life and coverage. An additional objective was to evaluate the feasibility of a reliable and low cost, low power localisation technique to complement the cloud connectivity of the vital-sign patch prototype. The experimental work focusing on both of these objectives included rigorous measurements with variety of radio access technologies to verify the performance and trade-offs related to the use case KPIs.
Use case H3B – Accurate geolocalisation
Wearable health monitoring has emerged as an effective way for improving the quality of life of the patient, as it provides seamless remote diagnoses and monitoring.
The project objective was to evaluate the feasibility of a reliable and low cost, low power localisation technique to complement the cloud connectivity of a vital-signs patch prototype. The research work hence focused on providing a lightweight and accurate radio-localisation feature on wearable health monitoring patches without embedded GNSS modules with high power consumption. Field trials were used to validate the narrowband radio-localisation approach with real signals in a realistic environment (outdoor/indoor and rural/urban).
Use case H3C – Aquaculture remote health monitoring
Health status and safety of workers within the aquaculture industry, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, has not been given due importance to date. Farm hands and other workers in aquaculture are susceptible to many occupational diseases and injuries in the course of their work. The remote health monitoring system trialled in the 5G-HEART project aimed at providing real-time monitoring and constant situational awareness of the health status of the workers and/or vulnerable people in remote locations, such as aquaculture sites.
The objectives for this use case included the performance testing and trialling of individual intelligence system components as well as the overall system. The remote health monitoring system included a variety of wearable devices at the user side, intelligence for identification of current issues, forecasting of future issues and health emergencies at the system side, and a dashboard for providing the health care professionals with visualisation of health monitoring data, notifications and alerts.
Use case T2S1 – 5G standalone slicing for smart junction and paramedic support
A high percentage of all traffic accidents occur at intersections, where there is a high density of vehicles and vulnerable road users (e.g. cyclists and pedestrians). The smart junctions scenario provides network assisted safety information towards vehicles to prevent traffic accidents and assist cooperative automated driving functions when vehicles pass through an intersection.
The objective for this use case was to evaluate to what extend a 5G standalone network is able to deliver the network performance requirements as required by a time-critical safety service like a smart junction, when such a time-critical service is not the only service operating on said 5G standalone network. Hence, this work compared network performance of a 5G standalone setup with and without network slicing configured.
Use case T2S4 – Human tachograph
The human tachograph service utilises wearable sensors to monitor the biosignals of professional drivers and provides guidance to prevent fatigue and improve wellbeing based on the live biosignals during driving as well as sleep and physical activity in long-term. The information from the human tachograph application can also be shared with other drivers and vehicles via a 5G-based traffic warning system, which triggers anonymised warning messages towards other road users and road traffic safety systems based on the human tachograph driver condition analysis.
The objective for this use case was to trial the transfer of the monitoring data to and warning messages from the network edge with different service and 5G network configurations. The key 5G connectivity challenges were related to the end-to-end latency and reliability with specific focus on the 5G uplink direction when transferring the raw sensor data to the network.
Use case T3S1 – Tele-operated support (TeSo)
Tele-operated support (TeSo) refers to the remote control of a vehicle using the available mobile network infrastructure. A human operator located remotely sends control commands to the vehicle over the network, while at the same time, information about the vehicle’s state and its surroundings is properly transferred and visualised back to the operator.
The objective for this use case was the trialling of the TeSo service prototype in a real pilot over a 5G network. During the trials, a research vehicle properly equipped with sensors and actuators was actively controlled remotely from a distance of around 36 km. Several maneuvers, including driving straight, turning right, changing lane, and parking, are performed and the collected data was analysed to assess the 5G network infrastructure’s effectiveness and efficiency in supporting TeSo.
Use case T4S4 – Location based advertising
With vehicle and passenger information readily available, location-based servers can be implemented to stream content (upon request, if required) as well as local advertising or traffic guidance to vehicles and road users. This becomes especially useful in car-sharing models where vehicles are not owned, and the origin and destination of each journey may vary depending on the passengers.
The objective for this use case was to implement and demonstrate high quality multimedia delivery to vehicles over 5G and measure the network metrics like throughput and latency.
Use case T4S6 – Vehicle sourced HD mapping
Autonomous vehicles do not only require on-board sensors to perceive the world around them, but also High Definition (HD) maps to aid their decision making. HD maps of roads and infrastructure will take years to capture and consolidate. There is the added issue of dynamic changes to these maps over time. An innovative means to collect and maintain up to date data would be to crowdsource this information through vehicle on-board sensors which would stream back to a central service, firstly to establish baseline maps and subsequently to manage change detection.
The objective for this use case was to implement and demonstrate capture of sensor data like LiDAR, upload this over 5G and measure the network metrics.
Use case T4S7 – Environmental services
Vehicles may provide a rich and real time source of weather and environmental information through existing on-board sensors such as light sensors for external light conditions such as cloud cover and fog, wiper data for intensity of rain, and suspension data for monitoring road conditions such as potholes. These can be consolidated to create hyper local weather maps aiding drivers and automated vehicles s in day-to-day driving but also to assist local authorities to improve road maintenance.
The objective for this use case was to implement and demonstrate capture of air quality data using IoT technologies and upload this over 5G and measure the network metrics.
Transport – Tele-operation support (research rover)
As part of the vehicle data service trials in the transport vertical, a tele-operated rover platform was utilised in place of full size vehicles. The flexibility of the rover platform made it suitable to be used in a variety of use case trial configurations and environments.
Aquaculture – Greece
The aquaculture trials at the Greek pilot site focus on the utilisation of sensory and camera data services when monitoring the fish cages at remote locations. The trials also include experiments with automation and actuation functionalities required in the operation of an underwater drone used to inspect the condition of the physical fish cage infrastructure.
Aquaculture – Norway
The aquaculture trials at the Norwegian pilot site focus on the utilisation of sensory and camera data services when monitoring the fish cages at remote locations. The trials also experiment on the utilisation of technology enablers such as edge/cloud computing and 5G-based cage to cage on site communication to facilitate deployment of local AI-powered applications at remote sites.
Aquaculture – Surveillance
In the 360 degree aquaculture site camera monitoring case, the camera stream is processed by a server to provide streams of low and high resolution for a requested field of view (360 degrees or smaller). The processed streams are transmitted via the 5G network to the application client (the operator). While the operator changes the field of view, lower quality video is visualised for minimizing the delay and high resolution stream is presented when the field of view is stabilised to optimise the quality of the video shown.
Aquaculture – KPI measurements
ACTA KPI measurement ecosystem is extensively utilised in the aquaculture trials of the 5G-HEART project.