GRONINGEN – 20 December 2021

The use of real-time video and vital data significantly improves the effectiveness of assessment in emergencies, compared to the current audio-only communications.

This was found during a recently completed 5G trial involving TNO, mobile telemedicine company RedZinc, and AmbulanceZorg Groningen whose aim was to see how 5G-enabled audio-video and/or vital monitoring can benefit remote patient assessment.

During the trial it was shown that when the chief medical officer (CMO) of an ambulance service had real-time connection for audio-video and vital data (for example ECG/electrocardiogram) with the ambulance paramedic, pre-hospital triage significantly improved.

5GHeart-Patient-Triage-scaled 5G video and data feed from ambulances improves pre-hospital triage | RedZinc Services 5GHeart-CMO-instructs-the-paramedic-using-BlueEye-video-copy 5G video and data feed from ambulances improves pre-hospital triage | RedZinc Services


The trial is part of the 5G-HEART project and used a fully-fledged 5G test network in 5Groningen, Netherlands. The project deploys 5G-enabled use cases in healthcare, transport and aquaculture.

By consulting the remote CMO virtually, the paramedic can be supported to make collaborative decisions, increasing confidence and reducing unnecessary patient hospital conveyance. It provides support in acute situations e.g. patients with heart attack, stroke or serious trauma.

5G network tests deliver promising results

Ubiquitous, reliable and high data-rate wireless communication is crucial for such video transmission. “However, this is not always possible for legacy wireless networks such as 4G/LTE, in particular indoors, at high speed or in rural areas”, remarks senior scientist TNO and co-initiator of the 5G-HEART project, Haibin Zhang. Emerging 5G technology is expected to better meet these demands. The 5Groningen test network is based on ‘5G Standalone’ standards, meaning all the components are 5G-capable, whereas most commercial 5G networks still consist of 4G components.

Wearable video for emergency services trial

AmbulanceZorg Groningen provided a nurse specialist, a medical doctor and monitoring equipment currently used in the field for the trial. An experienced actor in medical simulations, acted as a patient to provide realistic emergency scenarios. The video-audio, snapshot pictures and vital parameters were stable throughout. The availability of video and snapshots informed the remote CMO when support was requested, leading to faster and improved outcomes.

RedZinc provided the BlueEye Handsfree mobile telemedicine device and associated telemedicine cloud platform. Donal Morris, CEO and Founder of RedZinc comments “We are thrilled to see mobile video supporting emergency services decision-making. This is the best 5G network we have experienced, in terms of the stability of high data-rate video delivery and low latency achieved.”

Marie-Pauline Roukens, MD, AmbulanceZorg Groningen is satisfied with the results, stating “Ambulance services are striving for higher quality and impact in prehospital healthcare, preferably with more efficiency. We wish to progressively improve pre-hospital triage, so it is important to make correct and timely decisions. These results are a promising start to help us get there.”

Improved triage with patient video and data

Currently, a remote CMO can only make decisions about a patient via an audio connection (telephone) or through a dedicated channel via the dispatcher. The CMO has no visual of the patient for assessment. The ambulance crew often makes conservative decisions (over-triage). A high percentage (15-30%) of cases are brought to hospital where treatment in situ would suffice. When the paramedic uses wearable video-audio, shares a patient’s vital parameters or ultrasound, the remote CMO can see what the paramedic sees and help accelerate diagnosis and decision-making.

Next steps

An ambulance can take the fastest route to hospital by considering real-time traffic information. Reliable (5G) communication between ambulance, roadside infrastructure and the transport facility will enable the vehicle to traverse road intersections and bridges with priority.

Besides higher data rate, which is required for the delivery of high-quality video streaming, 5G will also support low-latency and high-reliable communication – crucial for live time-critical services.

The next step of this H2020 5G-HEART research will be testing simultaneous delivery of video-audio and real-time smart intersection control for ambulance services, using full-fledged 5G technology.

About RedZinc

RedZinc’s wearable video platform empowers emergency doctors, paramedics and community nurses to make better decisions faster by bringing prioritised real time video from remote patients to specialist doctor/healthcare professionals. The high-definition video is streamed over public 4G network via RedZinc’s secure cloud. The benefits are improved patient outcomes, reduced bed waiting lists, reduced ambulance transfers and hospital and ambulance cost savings. Follow RedZinc on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About TNO

The Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) is an independent research organization. We connect people and knowledge to create innovations that boost the sustainable competitive strength of industry and well-being of society. For more information

About AmbulanceZorg Groningen

Ambulancezorg Groningen is one of the 25 Regional Ambulance Services in The Netherlands. We are providing high-quality and efficient ambulance care 24/7 with well-trained professionals in the province of Groningen. We respond to calls of 112 (Dutch Emergency line) as quickly as possible. We are always developing our ambulance care into excellent, safe and mobile care for the patient. For more information

About 5GHeart Project

5G-HEART is a 5G PPP Phase 3 project which deploys innovative digital use cases involving healthcare, transport and aquaculture industry partnerships. 5G-HEART ensures improved healthcare, public safety, farm management and business models in a 5G market, stimulating huge business opportunities within and beyond the project. Follow 5G HEART on Twitter and Facebook.

Read this article on TNO website.