Veterans Health Administration and Verizon test 5G MEC and drones

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5G Mobile Edge Compute (MEC) technologies and drones will help hospital staff to better assess critical needs and facility infrastructure across the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System

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PALO ALTO, CALIF. - Verizon Public Sector has been collaborating with the Veterans Health Administration’s National Center for Collaborative Healthcare Innovation (NCCHI) and the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS) in the development and testing of 5G MEC and drones designed to improve safety and efficiency.

From the curation of advanced sensor-enabled drones, to technical integrations, and FAA-compliant pilot training, early work has validated the potential to enhance operations including safety, security and physical infrastructure monitoring.

“This collaborative work is designed to enhance the safety of our patients and staff in the event of emergencies by leveraging cutting-edge technologies for improved situational awareness, strategic coordination, and response times. On a more routine basis, the advanced sensors, combined with the agility of the aerial perspective, can also expand our ability to proactively monitor vital hospital infrastructure,” said Dr. Thomas Osborne, Director of the National Center for Collaborative Healthcare Innovation (NCCHI) and Chief Medical Informatics.

As part of the overall safety initiative, Verizon and VHA are also evaluating the technologies’ ability to improve search and rescue performance in situations such as patient elopement.

“Our combined 5G MEC and drone partnership with the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Healthcare System is the next step in the VA’s innovation journey, and it represents how other federal agencies can adopt next-generation technologies to help improve the way they serve their constituents,” said Maggie Hallbach, Senior Vice President, Public Sector at Verizon. “5G is reshaping how VHA operates and cares for its patients, and Verizon Public Sector is uniquely positioned to deliver the technology and network to support the VA’s mission to provide top quality care for our nation’s veterans.”

VHA and Verizon have also developed a comprehensive capabilities roadmap that include partnership with other agencies as well as the inclusion of additional cutting-edge enhancements. These include autonomous operations capabilities, to expand the capacity of staff in emergencies, while also allowing responsiveness beyond traditional visual line of sight.

"While some continue to talk about the promise of 5G, Verizon is working with strategic partners like VHA to bring the technology to life,” said Joel Daniels, 5G Healthcare Innovation and Enterprise Solutions Program Lead for the VA on the Verizon Public Sector team. “This demonstration at the VA’s campus in Palo Alto is indicative of the innovative products and technologies we are bringing to market, in this case helping VA leaders meet the strategic objectives that make up their 5G strategy."

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