Verizon Business is deploying a private 5G network at Cleveland Clinic's new 'smart' hospital, the companies said Tuesday at the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference in Chicago.
The smart hospital is set to open this July in Mentor, Ohio. On top of having an emergency department, inpatient and operating rooms, as well as imaging facilities, it will use the 5G network to power various digital health innovations. These innovations will include patient check-in kiosks, digital displays, hospital resource tracking and virtual reality adoption for clinician and patient education.
Designing a 5G network facility from the ground up allows Cleveland Clinic to demonstrate the effectiveness and adaptability of technology in healthcare, said Matt Kull, chief information officer at Cleveland Clinic. The health system is anticipating a number of potential benefits from having a more engaged patient population to faster and better connectivity, he said.
“Many hospitals are reliant upon structured cabling or Wi-Fi for patient monitoring, bedside communication and patient safety,” Kull said. “These capabilities are either bound to the hospital or some areas even have gaps within the hospital.”
With the industry’s increasing focus on home care coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, the concept of smart hospitals is shifting to include a larger smart ecosystem, said Gary Lynch, global practice lead of healthcare and life sciences at Verizon. Having a 5G network in place will allow both the hospital and the home to share the same communication formats, reducing the setup burden for patients and easing the transition between locations, Lynch said.
Initially, the Cleveland Clinic hospital will focus on operational efficiencies before moving on to clinical use cases, Lynch said. Verizon intends to eventually charge usage of 5G networks as a service model to make the technology more accessible to providers.
“[Hospitals] can’t give us a million dollars upfront, a one time fee,” Lynch said. “We want to be able to do it as a service where you pay for what you consume of the network.”
Decreasing the need for hospitals to manage their own structured network means facilities’ information technology teams will be able to focus their expertise on taking care of patients, Kull said.
“Our goal is to prove that this is the future,” Kull said. “If we’re successful here, all facilities will be built with this type of infrastructure. We think that this is going to become not the exception but the norm for healthcare.”