Verizon’s San Diego 5G deployment seen as critical for telehealth

San Diego’s children hospital telehealth visits surged from 20 per week to 4,000 per week

Verizon’s recent 5G expansion into San Diego included an agreement between the city and the operator which created a streamlined permitting process in exchange for a faster rollout of the high-speed network. Further, the area’s Rady Children’s Hospital was also present at the network’s launch to demonstrate that 5G will transform the San Diego’s healthcare sector, particularly when it comes to telehealth services.

“The pandemic is transforming everything from healthcare to school to business, and San Diego is making sure we have the technology to transform along with it. At a time when San Diegans are relying on the internet to remotely work and learn and stay healthy, the City and Verizon’s partnership is accelerating the availability of fast 5G connections,” San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer said.

When it comes to healthcare specifically, the 5G deployment comes as healthcare facilities around the world are experiencing a surge in requests for telehealth services. San Diego’s Rady Children’s Hospital is no different. In recent weeks, the hospital has seen a surge from a mere 20 telehealth visits per week to a staggering 4,000 per week.

Other hospitals in the area, like Sharp Healthcare Kaiser Permanente, are also seeing drastic increases in virtual appointments as well, with Sharp conducting more than 2,400 digital consultations per day — an increase of nearly 4,000% when compared to pre-COVID-19 metrics — and Kaiser reporting that nearly 80% of the system’s appointments nationally are for video or phone call.

“The need to provide essential medical care at this time of limited in-person visits resulted in a dramatic increase in telemedicine, or video visits, across Rady Children’s since March,” confirmed Dr. Anthony Magit of Rady Children’s Hospital.

This is not the first time Verizon has shown explicit interest in advancing telehealth services. Earlier in 2020, even before the effects of COVID-19 were in full swing, the operator was in talks with Walmart to discuss supplying a number of its stores with 5G antennas and other network infrastructure to power new Walmart digital health services for shoppers and employees, and a month prior, turned up its 5G service at a healthcare lab in Atlanta.

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