Rush working with AT&T to be the first 5G-enabled U.S. hospital

One of Chicago’s major academic medical centers is poised to be the first standards-based, 5G-enabled hospital in the United States.

On Tuesday at CES 2019 in Las Vegas, AT&T announced a collaboration with Rush University Medical Center and the Rush System for Health, a clinically integrated network of healthcare providers and hospitals in Chicago.

As part of the AT&T partnership with Rush, 5G technology—the fifth generation of cellular mobile communications—will be used in parts of Rush University Medical Center in various use cases to create the “hospital of the future,” according to the announcement. The initiative starts this month and will be phased in creating "learnings" throughout 2019.

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“It’s important to begin using 5G technology in healthcare settings,” AT&T executives note. “5G will ultimately bring faster speeds, lower latency and support the abundance of innovative technologies Rush is currently deploying throughout its system.”

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Rush will leverage AT&T’s 5G network, Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC)—a cloud-based IT service environment at the edge of the network—which enable the healthcare organization to manage its cellular traffic over both its local network and its wide area network, according to the vendor.

“We strongly believe 5G is a game-changing technology that when fully implemented will help us support better hospital operations as well as provide the highest quality patient and staff experience,” said Shafiq Rab, MD, senior vice president and chief information officer at Rush University Medical Center and the Rush System for Health.

“High-speed, low-latency 5G technology will help enable care to be delivered virtually anywhere at any time,” added Rab. “The technology will enhance access to care, even from long distances, while also helping to decrease costs and improve efficiency. Imagine sometime in the not-too-distant future, for example a doctor performing a virtual visit with a patient while downloading an entire MRI scan within seconds. The cutting-edge applications we’re implementing need a fast, reliable network to support them. That’s why we turned to AT&T.”

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