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5G-enabled bowel cancer screening project tests gut instinct

Staff Reporter
March 14, 2024

5G is being used in a bowel cancer screening programme that connects a tiny pill camera that transmits internal images to a recorder for upload to a remote computer.

The Colon Capsule Endoscopy technology enables people to be tested for the bowel cancer at home or at their local pharmacy. The ‘pill cam’ project is expected to cut testing waiting times from 30 weeks to two weeks across the region. It has been developed by West Midlands 5G, and West Midlands Combined Authority in partnership wtih Corporate Health International. 

5G powers the connectivity from the IntelliGI system from the patients’ own home, at no cost to them, and without requiring access to either their WiFi or data supplier.

The kit arrives at the patient’s house in a self-contained box (above). They then self-administer the test at home under the supervision of a specialist nurse, via a 5G network.

Patients swallow the camera ‘pill’ under the supervision of the nursing team. It transmits images to a recorder worn by the patient (before leaving the body as nature intended).

The data is then uploaded and analysed by a specialist team, and a report is prepared for the consultant.

The kit contains the pill camera, a system belt, capsule, and a pre-configured tablet with an integrated 5G modem and a 5G SIM. This provides the secure, reliable connection between the patient and the clinical team that enables the procedure to be carried out remotely.

Data is uploaded and analysed by a specialist team,

The rollout of the ‘pill cam’ follows successful trials led by University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust and WM5G.

WM5G and WMCA expect to use the technology to expand remote monitoring and smart hospital services

Dr Mark Andrew, Consultant Gastroenterologist and Clinical Service Lead for Endoscopy at Good Hope Hospital said: CCE is an established diagnostic examination that helps provide access to patients whilst protecting their dignity. I am pleased to see with the support of WM5G and CHI we can hope to offer this bowel test on a larger scale, whilst also reducing our carbon footprint.”

Dr Cornelius Glismann, managing director at Corporate Health International, said: This contract is clearly a game-changer for the region and we are looking forward to working in partnership with WM5G and the health care providers to rapidly roll out Colon Capsule Endoscopy across the region.

Our Colon Capsule Endoscopy technology was developed in direct response to a team-members personal experience of bowel cancer screening and was therefore designed with a firm focus on reducing waiting times while improving patient experience.”

Genevieve Edwards, chief executive at Bowel Cancer UK, said: Around 43,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK each year, but a lack of capacity to meet demand in endoscopy services means there are often long waits between referral and testing, leaving thousands of people awaiting tests that could either confirm a diagnosis or put their minds at rest.



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