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First ever private 5G network at an operating European Hospital

EU Commission to fund first ever private 5G network to enable wireless wearable technologies at an operating European Hospital

Boldyn Networks, WICOAR Technologies, Oulu University Hospital and the University of Oulu are working together in a consortium to bring advanced technology for efficient patient care. A private 5G network will be the foundation for wireless wearable technologies at Oulu University Hospital in Finland.

26 March 2024 | London, England

Boldyn Networks (Boldyn), the University of Oulu, Oulu University Hospital, and WICOAR Technologies, have received the official funding decision by the European Commission in the CEF Digital1 program for their “Hola 5G Oulu” project. Working together as a consortium the four parties will collaborate to bring a private 5G network to Oulu University Hospital and enable wireless wearable solutions for more efficient patient care. The network is considered the first ever private 5G network to be deployed at an operating hospital in Europe.

The "Hola 5G Oulu" project is about creating a robust and secure network for highly demanding healthcare environments and related use cases. Starting with one entire floor of the patient ward and selected operating theatres that serve as a platform for research and development, furthering the role of Oulu as a centre of technological and medical innovation.

The consortium will research and develop advanced data sharing and visualisation techniques aiming to define efficient patient care. 

Initiating the project together withthe originator of the idea - Jani Katisko, Associate professor and Medical Physicist at Oulu University Hospital, Petri Parviainen, Senior Key Account Manager at Boldyn Networks said: “We’re bringing our expertise in large, connected venues as well as bespoke private networks to deliver a solution that will undoubtedly be replicated in other hospitals in Finland and globally. Our consortium partnerships exemplify a concerted effort towards creating a healthcare system that is future-proof to comply with the fast-paced societal changes and technological evolution.”

“A private 5G network, with its high capacity and high-security nature, will provide the hospital with a reliable network, that can enable innovative healthcare-supporting solutions and solidly maintain its performance, even in the disturbance of a blackout” Petri added.

As part of the use cases, the private 5G network will be the foundation for WICOAR Technologies to research and develop wireless wearable solutions that can be an integral part of the hospital areas and improve the healthcare experience for both patients and doctors. Wearable solutions retrieve live patient data, including medical imaging and test results, so doctors can make diagnoses easily and quickly during patient visits, reducing the time needed in front of the computer and increasing the time spent with the patient. Wearables also reduce the workload of nurses as they do not need to retrieve data before the patient’s appointment. Additionally, wearables can recreate visuals of patients' vital monitoring, past diagnoses, and medical results for surgeons.

The 5G private network will also allow anaesthetists to see and monitorall details of a surgery remotely and guide other doctors in the operating theatre even if not present in the room. This will be more secure for patients who can be at ease during procedures.

Oulu University Hospital is the main hospital of Pohde, the wellbeing services county of North Ostrobothnia in Finland. Kirsti Ylitalo-Katajisto, Pohde's social and healthcare organising director, recognises the transformative potential of new technology in healthcare:

"Collaboration between businesses and the public sector is crucial to cultivate an environment conducive to the adoption of innovative technologies in healthcare, ultimately benefiting our patients. Pohde aspires to be a pioneer in this domain, and we are delighted to receive EU support for this groundbreaking technology implementation within our hospital, ensuring it benefits all stakeholders.”

— Kirsti Ylitalo-Katajisto

Pohde's social and healthcare organising director

Rauno Jokelainen, a member of the WICOAR board said: "WICOAR Technologies is a pioneering Finnish startup driven by the desire to easily integrate patient data into daily patient care safely and quickly. The new technology reduces the time spent on patient work while increasing the face-to-face contact with the patient by reducing the work involving collecting patient data on a terminal in the office.” 

“The University of Oulu will lead a thorough testing program for "Hola 5G Oulu”, prioritising patient safety with rigorous network testing. Additionally, streamlined workflows are achieved through usability testing of wireless wearables, ensuring smooth integration into the hospital environment. This meticulous approach minimises disruption, ultimately paving the way for a transformed approach to patient care”

— Mikael von und zu Fraunberg

Professor of Neurosurgery, Chief Physician of Neurosurgery, University of Oulu & Oulu University Hospital.

This initiative, funded by the EU and led by Boldyn Networks, Oulu University Hospital, and WICOAR Technologies, marks a significant leap forward in European healthcare. By establishing the first private 5G network within a functioning hospital, the project lays the groundwork for secure, efficient patient care through innovative wearable technologies. This will ultimately lead to improved patient care and a more efficient workflow for healthcare professionals.

1The Connecting Europe Facility – Digital (CEF Digital) aims to leverage public and private investments in digital connectivity infrastructures of common European interest. Together with other funding instruments, including the Recovery and Resilience Facility and the InvestEU, CEF Digital will help support an unprecedented amount of investments devoted to safe, secure, and sustainable high-performance infrastructure. In particular, Gigabit and 5G networks across the EU.

About Oulu University Hospital

Oulu University Hospital (OYS) is an innovative, research, and development-oriented provider of high-quality healthcare. It is the northernmost of the five university hospitals in Finland and part of the wellbeing services county of North Ostrobothnia.

Our hospital is being renewed and rebuilt by 2030. The objective is to build safe, resilient, sustainable, and functional academic hospital facilities that will serve half of Finland geographically. Alongside the construction of new facilities, we are also renewing our operating models to meet future requirements. Our vision for change is to become the world’s smartest hospital, where the newest technologies, modern facilities, and up-to-date expertise will combine to ensure effective specialized medical care.

About University of Oulu

University of Oulu – Working for a more sustainable, more intelligent, and more humane world.

The University of Oulu is an international science university that creates new knowledge, well-being and innovations for the future through research and education. The University of Oulu, founded in 1958, is one of the largest and most multidisciplinary universities in Finland. The university of Oulu has over 3800 employees and over 13,800 students in 8 faculties.

In all its activities, the University of Oulu strives for excellent quality and high efficiency. Our researchers produce nearly 3000 scientific publications each year, and several new research-driven startups arise yearly. The University of Oulu conducts impactful and responsible research. Our aim is to provide an excellent student experience and a healthy university community. Our values are: Creating new, taking responsibility, and succeeding together. Sustainable development is a goal in all of our operations.

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Funded by the European Union

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HaDEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.