KT and Samsung team up for 5G-enabled 'smart hospital'

A pen pointing at an MRI scan of a brain in a healthcare setting or hospital

South Korean telephone company KT plans to install a 5G network that will solve problems of mobility, communication, and data access for staff at the Samsung Medical Center in Seoul.

Doctors at the hospital currently have to move back and forth between the campus's proton therapy center and cancer hospital in order to collect and communicate data on patients. In addition, there are limited locations on the site where medical professionals can access patient information, such as pathology sample data.

The new network will facilitate fast and safe access to scores of data everywhere in the center. With it, doctors will have the ability to view and update patient records as well as conduct checkups for proton therapy patients in real time.

"We will work with Samsung Medical Center consistently to create a platform that enables business cooperation between medical teams based on 5G technology," said KT executive Lee Dong-myeon. "We are going to establish a base for spreading innovative smart hospitals through 5G."

The next-generation network will help the center's 7,900 doctors, nurses, researchers, pharmacists, and medical engineers treat the two million outpatients they receive annually.

In the wake of their 5G network launch, Samsung and KT plan to develop new services for the medical center's staff, including systems for collaboration that will allow doctors to co-diagnose a patient remotely, eliminating the need for proximity to the patient and to each other.

Other services will allow staff to monitor surgery progress through a 5G video feed and communicate their recommended course of action to the doctors in the operating room.

The scheme is similar to a collaboration between another South Korean telco, SK Telecom, and Yonsei University Health System to develop "smart hospital" healthcare services. Whereas that deal has a solid timescale, with the Yongin Severance Hospital due to open in February 2020, the KT-Samsung collaboration has no publicly acknowledged completion date as yet.