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AT&T is creating a 5G hospital

The next-gen wireless tech is expected to speed up network communications and reduce latency at a Chicago medical center.

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Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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2 min read
Telemedicine, Photo Illustration
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5G, the next-gen wireless tech, is making a lot of promises. Improving health care is one of them.

AT&T is helping telemedicine take a step forward by partnering with Rush University Medical Center to create the first 5G-enabled hospital in the US. The technology is expected to speed up network communications and reduce latency to help improve care at the Chicago hospital, AT&T said Tuesday.

"Imagine a hospital where rooms are intelligently scheduled, patient care is enhanced with artificial intelligence and augmented reality is used in training medical students," Mo Katibeh, AT&T Business' chief marketing officer, said in a statement. "It sounds like the future, but it's not that far off."

In addition to better speeds, responsiveness and coverage,  5G  is seen as the foundation for a vast swath of new tech such as self-driving cars and virtual reality. It promises to make data speeds 10 to 100 times faster than the typical 4G LTE networks today.

"We strongly believe 5G is a game-changing technology that when fully implemented will help us support better hospital operations as well as provide the highest quality patient and staff experience," Dr. Shafiq Rab, chief information officer at Rush University Medical Center and the Rush System for Health, said in a statement. "High-speed, low-latency 5G technology will help enable care to be delivered virtually anywhere at any time."

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AT&T is locked in a race with Verizon and other network operators to move to the next-gen wireless technology as quickly as possible. Its 5G network went live in a dozen US cities last month, but you need a 5G-compatible phone to use it. Manufacturers are expected to start releasing 5G phones this year.

AT&T also said Tuesday it's installing a 5G network at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas -- home of the Dallas Cowboys. The network will deliver new types of connected entertainment at the stadium, AT&T said.

"5G is expected to alter the in-stadium experience in dramatic, exciting ways by blurring the physical and digital experience in ways that are simply not possible on today's networks," Igal Elbaz, AT&T's senior vice president for wireless technology, said in a statement.

The stadium's 5G network is expected to be up and running in the coming months.

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