Rush Medical Center seeks to become first U.S. hospital to move to 5G

AT&T's 5G services for businesses have already launched in several markets. Rush University Medical Center will become the first hospital in the nation to adopt next-generation broadband speeds. (Rush University Medical Center)

Rush University Medical Center will become the first hospital in the nation to adopt next-generation broadband speeds, the organization announced Tuesday.

AT&T will begin providing the healthcare system with standards-based 5G services this month, though the companies expect to spend some time determining different use cases for the technology. Rush has highlighted several priorities, such as improving patient outcomes, increasing staff efficiency and enhancing patient experiences. 

5G networks promise to bring gigabit-speed
connections that blow current download speeds
out of the water. (AT&T)

 ​​​​​“Rush has a long history of innovation in health care. We strongly believe 5G is a game-changing technology when fully implemented,” said Dr. Shafiq Rab, senior vice president and CIO at the Rush system, in a release. “The technology will help 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."

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If that sounds like a distant possibility, it's not. 5G networks promise to bring gigabit-speed connections that blow current download speeds out of the water.

Companies are still determining how to use such capacity, but Rush and AT&T have several ideas in mind for healthcare.

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“AT&T believes ultimately 5G’s fast speeds and ultra-low latency (delays in initiating data transfers) will transform all businesses—and Rush is leading the way in health care,” said Mo Katibeh, chief marketing officer at AT&T Business, in the release. “Imagine a hospital where rooms are intelligently scheduled, patient care is enhanced with artificial intelligence, and augmented reality is used in training medical students."

The Rush System for Health is a clinically integrated network of healthcare providers in the Chicago area. In addition to enhancing speeds, AT&T promises to give Rush more control over its local network and its wide area network.