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Malaysia gets its first smart ambulance as 5G is deployed nationally

As Malaysia eagerly awaits 5G deployment, one telco company that initially signed up with Digital Nasional Berhad’s (DNB) 5G deployment is providing the technology to boost the healthcare industry.

In fact, PwC states that 5G networks could transform and improve all of the critical components of healthcare, a subject especially meaningful today as the spread of  COVID-19 has put unprecedented stress on healthcare systems around the world.

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As such, YTL Communications (YTL), which is also the first telco company to sign a deal with DNB on 5G deployment in Malaysia will now be providing enhanced emergency care through its YES 5G Smart Ambulance service through a strategic partnership with First Ambulance Services.

The two companies aim to enable new use cases in 5G healthcare such as remote telemetry of diagnostics and imaging, in addition to Extended Reality (XR) powered telemedicine service. Previously, both companies have deployed 4G-powered telematics solutions and have experienced a substantial reduction in vehicle maintenance along with improvement in driver and dispatch efficiency. With in-vehicle Wi-Fi from YES Fleet, First Ambulance is able to transmit patient information and diagnostics to the hospital from the ambulance.

“As the first telco in Malaysia to bring 5G services to Malaysians, YTL believes firmly in the transformational power of 5G. We are grateful to have played a role in supporting First Ambulance Services to improve emergency care using YES Fleet with 4G. The exciting leapfrog to 5G will enable new possibilities such as first-in-Malaysia real-time streaming of ultrasound and EKG telemetry,” commented Wing K. Lee, CEO of YTL Communications.

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Lee added that the high performance of 5G also will enable another first-in-Malaysia, which is the implementation of XR to allow the doctors will provide real-time guidance to the technicians in the ambulance. For Lee, these innovations will improve the speed and precision of emergency care and save lives.

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(Source – YTL Communications)

“As a data-driven company, we are excited to utilize the high bandwidth and low latency 5G connectivity to transit patient health data such as EKG telemetry and ultrasound images to the emergency care doctors — while the ambulance is en route to the hospital — to dramatically improve triage time and hospital readiness to care for the patient upon arrival.” Said Steven Penafort, Managing Director of First Ambulance Services.

According to Lee, the rollout will be done in stages, following the rapid growth of 5G coverage. Crucially, YTL would need to work with the hospitals on process change management optimization to take advantage of this new and rich source of the continuous information stream.

While the service is currently with private ambulance services, YTL wants to set precedence as a private entity and expand to other private ambulance providers. The company also hopes to gain support from the health ministry to extend this to government hospitals as well to benefit more Malaysians.

To ensure patient data is not compromised during the streaming of ultrasound and EKG telemetry, Lee said, “as a wireless network, 5G has robust security. In terms of the systems, we use to process patient diagnostic information, we are pleased to confirm that the data is encrypted end to end and the processes and systems are compliant with Malaysian PDPA requirements.”

Penafort added, “Working with YES, the national champion of 5G — we hope that the 5G Smart Ambulance will enable an integrated workflow between ambulances and hospitals for the benefit of the patients. We look forward to working with hospitals to embrace 5G as the coverage expands nationally.”

Also present during the partnership announcement was Malaysia’s Minister of Health Khairy Jamaluddin. The minister hopes to see broader adoption of 5G technology across all sectors in public health, including government hospitals.

While YTL’s services are only with 5G smart ambulances, the company is engaging with hospital partners next to identify how they could best take advantage of the various innovation enabled by YES 5G Smart Ambulance as well as other use cases in 5G healthcare.

As other telco companies still try to strike a deal with DNB, YTL is taking the opportunity to be ahead of the game by offering 5G services in healthcare. It will be interesting to see how the technology will develop in the future, especially with the healthcare industry increasing its tech adoption.

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