Federal News Network: 5G and how it’s changing the way they think at the VA

5G, the latest wireless communication technology, has started to change how agencies think about networks, both from a physical infrastructure standpoint and for how it can enhance service to employees and constituents. The Federal Drive with Tom Temin talked about this with a man at the forefront of this thinking at the Department of Veterans Affairs. He is Dr. Tom Osborne, Director of VA’s National Center for Collaborative Healthcare Innovation…

Thomas Osborne: Historically, one of the things that we’ve done in health care that’s quite valuable is we’ve collected a lot of data, and in particular, most places have gone to electronic health care systems. So we have tons of data, it’s an amazing resource. But converting that data into information, knowledge and wisdom, that’s something that will bring great value and something that we can do more of. So like other teams, we’ve been doing a lot of this in retrospective analytics, looking at historical data, to get insights on a population level. But the next frontier is bringing value by converting that into individualized personal care. And that’s what we’re really focused on. And that’s what this particular infrastructure, the 5G infrastructure will help us do more of.

Tom Temin: And how will it help just by being faster or allowing simpler or simplified network architectures? What does ir actually do for you? I mean, it’s a number on a telephone, but otherwise, I don’t think we’ve seen a lot from it…

Thomas Osborne: That’s a great question. So 5G, it’s an infrastructure right. And in and of itself, infrastructures, you know, a resource is not going to do anything by itself. But it enables us to do things that we couldn’t do before. So it allows us to move more data, faster. Now, OK, think about diagnostic images, it’s a big study, like as far as megabytes, so you have a lot of images, and it can be up to a gigabyte. And then you want to bring in other data to process that; you want to bring in genomics or EHR data, or even sensor data. All of a sudden, that’s a ton of information, if you want to move that through a system to then process it and bringing that insight back to the point of care. If you don’t have big pipes to move all that stuff, it’s going to be a major challenge. And so having 5G, and in particular cloud computing adjacent or you know, a component of that allows us to do things that we maybe could only imagine before. And you know, that’s sort of the place that we’re seeing. We’re seeing this allow us to do things we could never have imagined before, in some ways and do things we’ve only hope to do in the past… Read the full article here.

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