5G-powered Covid-19 ‘clinic-on-wheels’ rolls out in Scotland

O2 care home testing graphic.
(Image credit: O2)

Like the rest of the UK, Scotland’s care homes have been disproportionately hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. At the time of writing, care homes account for 54% of coronavirus deaths, with more than three quarters (77%) of all Covid-19 deaths occurring amongst  over-75s.

This figures highlight the importance of monitoring care homes, and today O2 and the NHS have announced a new, 5G-powered Covid-19 testing unit, which will be trialed in six Scottish care homes during a three-month trial, before potentially being deployed across the whole country.

The ‘clinic on wheels’ will be rolled out by the University of Glasgow’s Adam Smith Business School, the James Watt School of Engineering, and O2’s Darwin Innovation Group, which have been working in collaboration to create a proof-of-concept Connected Mobile Health Clinic (CMHC) that can be used in the trial.

"It’s exciting to be able to show so quickly how we can use innovations in 5G technology to unlock crucial solutions for society and revolutionise the way we use mobile connectivity."

Derek McManus, O2.

“We’re delighted to be supporting this project with our 4G and 5G network to help the Scottish Government and NHS tackle and manage Covid-19,” said Derek McManus, Chief Operating Officer at O2. “The Darwin laboratory in Glasgow was only officially opened at the start of this year and it’s exciting to be able to show so quickly how we can use innovations in 5G technology to unlock crucial solutions for society and revolutionise the way we use mobile connectivity.

“O2 is at the forefront of connectivity which is now one of the UK’s most valued services. As we look to rebuild Britain, we are constantly looking at how our customer-centric networks can help support this country.”

Starting this summer

Starting this summer, the trial will capture the data of 550 residents and care home workers across the six sites, with a view to it being used in the West of Scotland region, potentially testing around 2.7 million patients in care homes, hospitals, and other medical facilities.

‘’Resilience will become the new buzzword for care homes during COVID-19 epidemic,” said Professor Nuran Acur, University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School. “Our project will enhance care homes resilience for COVID-19-related cases by designing the interface of proven digital technology, Connected Mobile Health Clinics and a new, social business model for linking key players such as the NHS, care homes and technology providers in the health ecosystem.”

The CMHC will share the number of Covid-19 test data to a secure cloud server via O2’s mobile network. The testing unit will then display this data on a dashboard, in real-time, providing epidemiological analysis to the NHS, the Scottish Government and public health organisations. 

Dan Oliver

Dan is a British journalist with 20 years of experience in the design and tech sectors, producing content for the likes of Microsoft, Adobe, Dell and The Sunday Times. In 2012 he helped launch the world's number one design blog, Creative Bloq. Dan is now editor-in-chief at 5Gradar, where he oversees news, insight and reviews, providing an invaluable resource for anyone looking to stay up-to-date with the key issues facing 5G.