HIMSS23: Verizon, Cleveland Clinic to build new Ohio hospital, first in US to be embedded with 5G from get-go

CHICAGO—Verizon Business and Cleveland Clinic are teaming up to develop ways to use 5G technology at a new hospital in Mentor, Ohio. 

The facility, Cleveland Clinic Mentor Hospital, is expected to open in July. It is said to be the first hospital to be built from the ground up with 5G embedded. The two companies plan to find ways to use the tech to enhance patient care, provide caregivers with greater connectivity and elevate the patient experience.

The hospital will include inpatient and observation rooms, an emergency department, operating rooms and imaging facilities. Some potential use cases that can be built atop the private 5G network include patient check-in kiosks, enhanced digital displays, in-room infotainment for patients, asset tracking and augmented reality or virtual reality adoption. 

“When you’re caring for people’s health, moments matter and the network infrastructure of a healthcare facility is critical for everything from patient care to facility operations,” Kyle Malady, CEO of Verizon Business, said in an announcement. “The team at Cleveland Clinic is a global leader in healthcare with a clear understanding of the impact technology can have on the overall experience at their facilities.”

Verizon argues that 5G enables greater security and speed at a time when cyberattacks and demand for care are rising.

At the Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society global conference Tuesday, Verizon executives told Fierce Healthcare that 5G could be especially crucial to major hospitals that contain imaging equipment and steel machinery that impedes connectivity. Not being able to access WiFi on the ground could hinder patient navigation throughout a given facility, they said.

The company has in recent years ramped up investments in 5G. As part of the 1 Billion Lives Challenge of Edison Alliance, which aims to accelerate digital inclusion, Verizon has committed $3 billion to enhance digital skills for youths and small businesses. And in March 2021, Verizon invested nearly $60 billion to acquire C-Band spectrum to increase its nationwide coverage. 

“This collaboration supports our long-term vision for a fully digital hospital infrastructure,” said Matthew Kull, Cleveland Clinic's chief information officer. “If we can provide 5G high bandwidth to our facilities, we can become more efficient, ensure better continuity of care as patients transition home and enhance the overall experience for our caregivers and patients.”

Verizon will deploy the network on an Ericsson platform. The deal was facilitated by Verizon’s 5G partnership with KPMG, which is focused on developing a suite of solutions to enable secure communications across healthcare. Earlier this year, KPMG deployed Verizon’s private 5G wireless network in its learning and innovation center, KPMG Lakehouse.