Korean telco KT and Samsung said they have successfully tested several applications for new 5G medical services throughout Samsung Medical Center’s complex in Seoul, Korean press reported.
The two companies had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to collaborate in September last year.
The tested applications include 5G digital pathology diagnosis, proton treatment information inquiry, 5G surgery guidance, AI-based smart care, and autonomous driving robots inside the operating room, the two firms said.
The 5G surgery guidance enables a surgeon wearing the so-called Sync CAM using 5G to livestream the surgery procedure to other doctors or trainees.
The RAN-based 5G network at the hospital makes certain procedures possible at lower cost, when compared with the cost of building wired internet infrastructure, said Jang Kee-taek, chair of the Department of Pathology and Translational Genomics at the Samsung Medical Center.
A doctor, for instance, can send about 4-gigabyte frozen section images — images obtained from biopsies — at an average speed of 1 gigabyte per second, allowing colleagues in different buildings to view the images quickly and deliver a precise diagnosis as promptly as possible. Previously, the process took longer, because doctors had to walk between buildings for about 20 minutes to check pathology test results, according to the hospital.
The 5G-powered hospital system could also be implemented at other Samsung Medical Center branches, according to hospital officials.
KT and the Samsung Medical Center added that they would work together to develop other medical solutions base don 5G technology. The two entities have not yet decided when to commercialize their smart hospital solutions.
Both firms had previously said that through the deployment of 5G technology, medical staff would gain fast and safe access to medical data anywhere in the center.
Doctors will also be able to conduct real-time checkups for patients undergoing proton therapy, as well as read digital diagnosis data in real-time.
The new services will allow doctors to monitor surgery progress remotely via 5G video and exchange the best course of action with the staff inside the operating room. Staff within the operating room will also be able to access patient data via their 5G connected mobile devices, KT said.
Rival operator SK Telecom, in partnership with Yonsei University Health System, has also been working on developing smart healthcare services for hospitals.
South Korea’s three mobile carriers are engaged in several projects for the provision of in-building wireless technology through 5G.
According to a previous report by Korea Times, SK Telecom has recently completed the development of a “5GX In-building Solution”, which is capable of doubling the speed of 5G data transfer inside buildings and effectively dispersing data traffic to prevent overload on base stations in crowded areas such as shopping malls and subway stations.
SK Telecom also said this new in-building wireless technology will be applied to its commercial 5G networks after the third quarter of the year.
The company said its new system features “active antenna” technology that allows 5G small cells to be equipped with eight transmission and reception antennas. The carrier highlighted that this technology will double the speed of 5G data transfer as existing indoor base stations are capable of operating four transmission and reception antennas, according to the report.
KT has also been working to expand 5G coverage inside buildings.
In May, the carrier had interlocked 5G repeaters with commercial 5G networks in cooperation with small and medium business partners. KT is in charge of expanding 5G coverage in 95 large buildings out of 119 nationwide, such as airports and KTX stations, in a joint project carried out by the three mobile carriers.
Meanwhile, LG Uplus has been installing repeaters in small and medium buildings and underground parking lots to expand 5G coverage.
The telco is also planning to expand the application of beam-forming and multi-user MIMO technologies to its 5G networks across Korea.