Not just smart, but necessary: the intelligent upgrade of the healthcare industry

By Huawei

The use of data and artificial intelligence looks set to transform how the healthcare sector innovates and delivers better care to patients. To make this a reality, hospitals have turned to Huawei's Medical Technology Digitalization Solution.

David Shi, Vice President of Huawei’s ICT Marketing & Solution Sales, spoke about the intelligent upgrade of the healthcare industry at Mobile World Congress 2024. Image: Huawei.

In the modern digital age, the use of data and artificial intelligence looks set to transform how the healthcare sector innovates and delivers better care to patients.


However, there are sizable hurdles yet to be overcome before this vision can become reality.


Firstly, data. With many large hospitals accumulating data into the petabytes, or more than 1,000 terabytes, there is an unwieldy volume of data that continues to grow at the rate of 48 per cent every year, according to an IDC report.


Secondly, stable connectivity between devices is needed to improve healthcare service quality. According to the Statistical Bulletin on the Development of Health Care in China 2022, there were 37,000 hospitals with 9.75 million beds. If each bed has six information points, that will mean 60 million connections among healthcare devices.


Thirdly, AI technologies, such as computer vision, natural language processing, and pattern recognition algorithms, will need to be applied to aspects such as drug discovery, medical image analysis, paperwork outside of clinical practice, and health management.


And lastly, the healthcare industry remains a prime target for bad actors. Check Point’s 2022 Mid-Year Report showed a 69 per cent increase in attacks during the first half of 2022, the largest increase of any industry, with malware attacks most prevalent, followed by vulnerability exploitation attacks.


With these challenges in mind, Huawei launched its Medical Technology Digitalization Solution as a clarion call for the intelligent upgrade of the healthcare industry.


“To accelerate the intelligent upgrade of the healthcare industry, Huawei, as an ICT provider, builds a secure and sustainable digital foundation for the healthcare industry and helps it go intelligent,” said David Shi, Vice President of Huawei’s ICT Marketing & Solution Sales.


Speaking at the recent Mobile World Congress 2024, he also emphasised Huawei is working with its partners to help its customers succeed in this endeavour. Currently, Huawei has more than 3,300 healthcare partners worldwide, and serves over 5,000 hospitals and medical institutions in more than 110 countries and regions.

Intelligent healthcare solutions


The Medical Technology Digitalization Solution builds a unified architecture based on cloud computing, big data, and AI that benefits medical imaging services in hospitals around the world.


By applying this solution, which has enabled hospital-wide data convergence, Shanghai’s Ruijin Hospital has built a digital smart pathology department, which enables concurrent access to over 1,000 pathological sections within a second and improves retrieval speed by 80 times.


Similarly, the Health Bureau of Longgang District, Shenzhen, has leveraged the solution to build a regional medical imaging platform, which supports the interconnection and sharing of medical image data among 12 hospitals, one-click access to image reports, and mutual recognition of cross-hospital examinations.


Huawei’s lossless compression algorithm and cloud-based solutions can help deliver accurate, efficient, and consistent image reading and diagnoses, can save hospitals 30 per cent of storage space and 70 per cent of equipment room space, and led to an estimated annual cost savings of USD 930,000 for the 12 Longgang hospitals.


Cloud-network-edge-device synergy

To address the challenges faced by the healthcare industry during intelligent transformation, Huawei leverages cloud-network-edge-device synergy to dig deep into service scenarios and upgrade other major solutions.


For instance, the Smart Ward and Smart Hospital Campus solutions facilitate smooth, real-time connections between medical devices within wards, and support intelligent operations and management at the hospital level, respectively.


The digital platform is the core of the smart hospital campus solution, which integrates basic ICT capabilities such as AI, big data, video cloud, IoT, and geographic information systems.


In addition, the One Hospital, Multiple Branches Solution builds an integrated cloud-network-edge resource base to implement unified management as well as diagnosis and treatment services of the same quality across different hospital branches.

Intelligent transformation across China, and in Europe


With these solutions in hand, Huawei fully supports the construction of smart hospitals, smart health units, and smart medical insurance in China, to help the healthcare industry operate safely and improve quality and efficiency.


Currently, Huawei has served more than 60% of healthcare institutions across the country, including over 1,800 tertiary hospitals, more than 600 telemedicine platforms, the National Healthcare Security Administration, National Smart Healthcare Security Laboratory, and 31 provincial healthcare information platforms.


These include the West China Hospital of Sichuan University, which utilised Huawei’s OceanStor Pacific scale-out storage for a whole genome sequencing project for 100,000 Chinese patients in 2020, and the Wuhan Union Hospital, which adopted Huawei’s Fiber to the Office, or FTTO, network solution to reduce the need for costly network cable routing.


Meanwhile, in Europe, two major hospitals in Germany and France worked with Huawei to address their IT systems struggling to handle the demands of business growth and the increasing volume of patient data.


University Hospital Essen, the largest hospital in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, has 1,770 beds and 8,500 employees, and treats 50,000 inpatients and 195,000 outpatients annually.


By adopting Huawei’s OceanStor Dorado all-flash storage and OceanStor Pacific distributed storage, it is able to run core service systems efficiently and stably, ensuring healthcare data security throughout the lifecycle. This has improved service response efficiency by 40%, and reduced capital expenditure cost by at least 30 per cent and up to 50 per cent of total cost of ownership.


Meanwhile, Toulouse University Hospital, one of France's top four university hospitals, receives 550,000 emergency calls, 276,000 hospitalisations, and cares for over 820,000 patients each year. Admissions were growing by 30 per cent each year, stretching the hospital’s legacy systems.


Since deploying OceanStor Dorado, the hospital has been able to dramatically speed up service delivery and ease the pressure on both its systems and IT team. The hospital's storage latency has fallen by 30 per cent, performance has increased by 40 per cent, and operations and maintenance have been streamlined, saving up to 30 per cent in costs.