5G technology will enable local police to provide emergency medical care in real time

18 / 02 / 2020
  • During the pilot trial, a policeman attended a medical emergency in the street while connected in real time to a doctor in Parc Taulí hospital
  • The ‘5G First Responders’ project is intended to improve care in the first few minutes of an emergency, which is a crucial moment for saving lives and preventing serious injuries

Today, Sabadell has hosted the first pilot trial of ‘5G First Responders’, a project that uses 5G technology to improve emergency medical care. The pilot trial took place in front of the station of the Sabadell Municipal Police and involved a minor simulating an epileptic fit. The first person to assist him was a local policeman, who initiated the care procedure upon connecting with paediatric emergencies at Parc Taulí hospital through a device equipped with a camera that can be used to share images in real time. He was therefore able to receive instructions from Dr Luis Renter, a paediatrician located in the hospital’s ICU, who gave the policemen instructions on how to provide primary care and stabilise the patient.

The ‘5G First responders’ project is part of the 5G Barcelona initiative and is promoted by Mobile World Capital Barcelona, the Parc Taulí Health Consortium, Cisco, Orange and Ericsson, with the support of Sabadell City Council and the Regional Government of Catalonia.

5G technology for saving lives

The pilot trial is intended to generate an improved response in the initial moments of a medical emergency, a crucial time for preventing serious injuries and even for saving lives. When there is an accident or emergency in the street, the first person to arrive is often a local policeman or policewoman. The project is intended to cover precisely these first moments when care is crucial and the ambulance is still to arrive.

The connection between the police and the paediatrician is established through Cisco’s RealWear HMT device, which fits on the head and allows for sharing of high-quality video. It is, moreover, voice-operated, which leaves the policeman or policewoman’s hands free to help the patient. The doctor can meanwhile view the video images from the goggles and share graphic information, including data or notes on the images. First aid can thus be given on the basis of a view of the person affected and a more suitable strategy can therefore be recommended. The objective is to stabilise the patient until the arrival of the ambulance, which will then be prepared on the basis of initial diagnosis. The emergency service can likewise be suitably prepared to receive the patient and to give him or her proper care.

The pilot trial uses the network of Orange with Ericsson 5G technology, with commercial radio equipment and a 5G core on NSA (non-standalone) technology with a bandwidth of 3.5GHz that complies with the 3GPP standard. This innovative use case features as part of Ericsson’s collaboration with Orange, which began in late 2018 with the 5G pilot trials in Barcelona.

Jordi Puigneró, Minister for Digital Policy and Public Administration of the Regional Government of Catalonia, stressed that “5G technology is more than a digital revolution. It will impact key areas of life such as health, emergencies, security, but also in mobility or industry. Pilots like today’s show us the capital status that Catalonia is exercising in the 5G field. We have the potential to become the world capital of 5G”.

According to Eduard Martín, 5G Director of Mobile World Capital Barcelona, “5G technology has great potential for use in healthcare. Here, it allows for a fast, efficient response that will help in care for people in critical condition. It is a new 5G application that can improve our lives”.

Dr  Luís Renter, intensive care paediatrician, and head of Parc Taulí’s remote paediatric medicine programme, meanwhile, considers that “5G technology applied to health will enable specialised medical care to immediately reach the place where an emergency situation has arisen and help public service professionals such as police, firefighters, and ambulance personnel to provide accident victims with more precise care ”

Montserrat Cereza, Regional Director of Institutional Relations at Orange, stated: “We are convinced that technology should be placed at the service of people and ensure that any innovation is transformed into progress. 5G’s success depends not only on networks and infrastructures, but also, particularly, on the capacity of the agents involved and of society as a whole to develop innovative uses like this one in which the new mobile network can help to save lives. Such is the case of this pilot trial of remote medical care that requires an extremely high-quality image and data transmitted and processed in just a few milliseconds. This new pilot with Ericsson technology is yet a further example of how our company is continuing to test communications infrastructures in order to develop use cases in different areas”.

Andreu Vilamitjana, General Director of Cisco, underlined that “Cisco and its partners are creating immersive solutions on 5G to ensure that people and communities benefit from digitalisation in multiple sectors, in which public emergency services are a fundamental application”. “We are delighted to be taking part in this project that combines the power of collaborative software, hardware and the network to optimise primary and emergency care”.

Marta Farrés, mayor of Sabadell, emphasised the importance of adapting technology to cities: “A city is a place where things happen and it should be cities where technology comes into contact with the public. It should be everyone’s objective to find these real applications that help the lives of all. In Sabadell we are fortunate to have a state-of-the-art unit like Parc Taulí and we are proud to host trials like this”.