About the Project
All about the project and the project process
All about the project and the project process
The power of 5G mobile technology is creating a wide range of new opportunities for faster and better emergency medical care. The project RettungsNetz-5G is designed to tap the potential and gradually deploy the new mobile communications standard as well as several associated technology innovations. This will enable mobile diagnostics and a much faster start to therapy for emergency medical conditions.
With the start of the project (stage 1), a 5G-based mobile video and data unit will be set up in the rescue transport vehicle for early diagnosis of a stroke, with which specialists from a target hospital can be informed and called in for support. The data is processed on an analysis and decision-making platform that supports the best possible further care for the patient based on AI. This intelligently prepares and accelerates the subsequent course of care, ultimately improving prognosis and increasing the patient’s chance of survival.
The second stage of the project addresses the further acceleration of diagnosis and therapy initiation in the event of stroke. For this purpose, a mobile cranial CT is installed in an ambulance, which is additionally alerted by the rescue control center in the event of a suspected stroke, so that a CT scan of the cranium can be performed immediately at the scene. With the help of 5G, the CT data volumes can now be transferred to the analysis and decision platform in real time and evaluated, so that therapy can already begin at the scene and vital time can thus be gained.
In a third stage of the project, the use of 5G remotely controlled intervention robotics is being explored. This technology has great potential for emergency medical treatment of many conditions, including bleeding and vascular reopening, such as acute stroke.
Frequently occurring, severe emergency medical conditions (e.g. strokes, polytrauma, acute bleeding, pulmonary embolisms and heart attacks) require very rapid and targeted therapy. The decisive criterion for the chances of survival is usually the duration between the event, the start of targeted diagnostics and the subsequent appropriate therapy: the faster the therapy of modern high-performance medicine begins, the higher the probability of survival of the patient. In this respect, there is currently a great need to speed up procedures and use new technologies to support them: Patients with life-threatening injuries or illnesses, such as acute myocardial infarction or stroke, are now treated according to ever more advanced guidelines and standards to achieve this goal. After the alerting of rescue resources via the rescue control center and preclinical diagnostics and therapy by the emergency physician, in-hospital care is provided in the so-called shock room.
There – in cooperation with several medical disciplines – an extended diagnosis including a CT scan is performed and a joint decision is made for further acute treatment. Only then is the initiation of further emergency therapy in the form of alerting personnel and the provision of surgical capacity or interventional angiography rooms. This initial phase is exceedingly critical and has significant impact on the overall prognosis of the severely injured patient. Currently, care is usually sequential; inevitably, there is considerable time lost due to alerting and arrival routes, so that in reality several hours can often elapse before optimal therapy is initiated – time during which the patient’s prognosis deteriorates dramatically. Any increase in the speed of care here would directly increase the patient’s life expectancy; in the case of stroke, the metaphorical saying is “Time is Brain!” The project RettungsNetz-5G project aims to optimize these times and ensure timely care.
Currently, patients have to be taken to a special center for diagnostics, because only there are the necessary technical facilities, for example CT machines and angiography units, as well as the necessary personnel available. As medical possibilities improve, the demands and technical complexity of the procedures, which are often performed under high time pressure and thus under considerable stress, increase at the same time. At the same time, more and more comprehensively trained specialists are needed, whose availability is decreasing – this fact also underscores the urgent need for further development or supplementation of available medical technologies. Particularly in rural areas, the provision of care to the population by emergency transport and emergency physicians is a major challenge due to long transport distances to specialized centers, which means that the rural population as a whole still receives significantly later and thus poorer medical care in the event of serious illness or injury.
On the one hand, technical innovations offer new opportunities to increase the quality of care and effectively support the scarce, highly qualified personnel in their often complex work, so that treatment errors are minimized. On the other hand, they offer a unique opportunity, particularly for medical care in rural and remote regions, to significantly increase the speed of initial diagnosis and therapy – to a level that matches or even exceeds medical care in metropolitan areas. The 5G mobile communications standard sets new standards in data speed, network capacity, response time and data security. In combination with the latest MedTech innovations (first-time mobility of compact CT, robot-controlled angiography units, AI in imaging and sequence planning), a wide range of possibilities are created to make the infrastructure relevant to emergency medicine available to patients much faster and to shorten or parallelize the previous care cascade at many points. In the future, the concept of keeping the equipment available specifically in medical centers can be supplemented by the situation-adapted mobile and thus earlier use of the equipment (in particular mobile CT and remote-controlled robots), including on board ambulances. At the same time, large amounts of data and thus far more diagnostic information can be transmitted from the ambulance already from the scene of the accident or during transport, evaluated based on AI, and taken into account in the emergency care process.
Specialized medical expertise, which is currently only available at specialized medical centers, can be made available to patients on a decentralized and mobile basis via 5G-based communication. An example of this is the support of the rescue service and the emergency physician by intra-hospital experts, which can be provided in the same quality over many kilometers via stable, high-resolution and practically delay-free video communication. This not only makes it possible to improve the quality of care for the patient, but also increases the efficiency of the personnel required for this purpose, which is conducive to improved emergency care overall. In addition to high data transmission rates, low latency is also essential for these mobile and safety-critical applications for uninterrupted real-time communication and device control, as well as interference-free and protected transmission of sensitive patient data. Some of these requirements are enabled for the first time by the 5G standard. This means that data can be transmitted reliably and “live” even in locations with extremely high user density (e.g., soccer stadiums). The use of mobile CT is also ideal for demonstrating how resilient the 5G network is for other mobile applications whose requirements exceed the capacities of 4G. The 5G standard thus acts as an enabler and catalyst to bring technical innovations that are now driving major injury care and improving its prognosis into use much earlier and in remote regions. This represents a huge opportunity for better medical care and forms the core of the RettungsNetz-5G project.
 Rink JS, Froelich MF, Nour M, Saver JF, Szabo K, Hoyer, C, Fassbender KC, Schoenberg SO & Tollens F (2022): Lifetime economic potential of mobile stroke units in acute stroke care: A model-based analysis of the drivers of cost-effectiveness. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare. doi:10.1177/1357633X221140951
 Zercher D, Jussupow E & Heinzl A (2023): When AI joins the Team: A Literature Review on Intragroup Processes and their Effect on Team Performance in Team-AI Collaboration. European Conference on Information Systems; Kristiansand, Norway.