The latest 5G technology is being introduced the Internet of Things (IoT) Era. The study aims to focus the 5G technology and the current healthcare challenges as well as to highlight 5G based solutions that can handle the COVID-19 issues in different arenas. This paper provides a comprehensive review of 5G technology with the integration of other digital technologies (like AI and machine learning, IoT objects, big data analytics, cloud computing, robotic technology, and other digital platforms) in emerging healthcare applications. From the literature, it is clear that the promising aspects of 5G (such as super-high speed, high throughput, low latency) have a prospect in healthcare advancement. Now healthcare is being adopted 5G-based technologies to aid improved health services, more effective medical research, enhanced quality of life, better experiences of medical professionals and patients in anywhere–anytime. This paper emphasizes the evolving roles of 5G technology for handling the epidemiological challenges. The study also discusses various technological challenges and prospective for developing 5G powered healthcare solutions. Further works will incorporate more studies on how to expand 5G-based digital society as well as to resolve the issues of safety–security–privacy and availability–accessibility–integrity in future health crises.
The latest wireless mobile phone technology, Fifth Generation (5G), was first widely deployed in 2019. While 5G network is at developing stage, some countries including China, South Korea, the UK and the US commercially deployed 5G networks, and some other developed countries are being expecting to put forward commercial 5G networks by 2025 . Comparing to the existing wireless networks, 5G provides high data rate, lower latency, high volume of devices connectivity with energy efficiency, high reliability and mobility support . Thus, the services offered by 5G mobile networks are generally categorized into three group, namely (i) “enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB)”, (ii) “ultra-reliable low latency communications (URLLC)”, and (iii) “massive machine-type communications (mMTC)” . In 2019, 67% of the world people have subscribed to cellar devices, of which 65% have used smart phones , and 204 billion apps have been downloaded . About 3.8 billion public have eagerly used social media reported in January 2020 . As the number of digital devices connectivity with 5G is dramatically increasing, the extent of variation in exposure to radiofrequency arenas is still under investigation.
The use of 5G network in integrating other digital technologies (like AI and machine learning, IoMTs, big data analytics, cloud computing, etc.) is now a reality in healthcare. From the literature, it is clear that 5G enabled technologies as well as intelligent systems have a prospect to improve healthcare services, such as medical diagnosis, health monitoring, treatment, management, etc. As the 5G poses non-ionizing radiation, there is no significant health risk of 5G RF wave below the recommended safety level. There is no evidence that 5G signal causes the spread of the coronavirus. Moreover, 5G enabled digital technologies have been used for limiting the COVID-19 outbreak, and enhancing the public-health strategies in 2020. Some advanced technology giants are conducting their researches on 5G related applications that will combat against the health risks of any undesirable epidemics. The successful utilization of 5G technology to tackle healthcare challenges will enhance the acceptance of such technologies for other sectors in the future.
As it is a new field of research, some issues are to be considered in deployment of 5G network in healthcare including infrastructure development, technical standards, effective regulations and policy, privacy protection and security, as well as availability of research data. Further works will incorporate more study on how to expand 5G based digital society as well as to resolve some issues, such as safety–security–privacy, availability–accessibility–integrity, and to augment resilience to future health crises. It is also required to compile laws and prepare proper guidelines to deal with ethical and legal counteractions in managing the online services during the emergency situations. With the new technological innovations, 5G network will provide a complete pathway for a smart society with various promising healthcare applications.