5G In Healthcare

How can 5G connect a post-COVID healthcare ecosystem?

5G networks could transform—and improve—all of the critical components of healthcare, a subject especially meaningful today as the spread of the coronavirus has put unprecedented stress on healthcare systems around the world.

5G promises to provide essential levels of connectivity to enable a new health ecosystem, one that can meet patient and provider needs accurately, efficiently, conveniently, cost-effectively and at substantial scale. However to realise the full potential of 5G networks in healthcare settings, network security and data privacy are paramount.

A new health ecosystem

As use of 5G in healthcare increases, with its applications boosted by advances in robotics, IoT and AI, a new connected healthcare ecosystem will take shape. In our view, this ecosystem will align with a relatively recent idea known as 4P medicine—that is, it will be predictive, preventative, personalised and participatory.


Equipped with a constant flow of instantaneous data on patients’ vital signs and relevant alerts, blended with information on lifestyle behaviors and social factors, the new health ecosystem will be better able to predict risks to patients.


Being predictive boosts the ability to take preventative action. An apt example—especially relevant in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak—is the ability to track and trace with unprecedented accuracy the location and proximity of vast numbers of people using smartphone apps, as evidenced in South Korea.


The combination of constant real-time health monitoring over 5G networks will provide substantial opportunities for personalising people’s healthcare experiences and interventions.


In the 5G-enabled health ecosystem, patients will become less passive consumers of healthcare and more engaged participants in driving their own outcomes. Currently, the average patient in the US has more than 5,000 waking hours to care for themselves.

By “activating” some of those 5,000 hours—that is, taking independent actions to manage their wellbeing, diagnostics and treatments—patients can improve their quality of life and medical outcomes and, at the same time, reduce overall costs in the healthcare system.

By combining 5G with other leading-edge technologies, we can create the opportunity to transform many aspects of patient care, while catalysing the emergence of a new healthcare ecosystem.

Download our 5G in Healthcare paper to learn more.

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Wilson Chow

Wilson Chow

Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) Industry Leader, PwC China

Ron Chopoorian

Ron Chopoorian

US Deals Leader, Partner, PwC United States

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