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Healthcare Advancements with Snapdragon™ 820’s 4K Ultra HD Video

When Snapdragon™ 820 was released, it was a huge step forward from the Snapdragon 810. The former had several issues, but Snapdragon 820 with its improved thermal performance coupled with Adreno 530 GPU offered an overall package that was much more appealing to the consumer. With its LPDDR4 RAM standard, it extended support to advanced capabilities like 4K Video at 60fps and DSLR like photography.
The Snapdragon 820 was built with longevity in mind and can also be used with wearables and modern health monitors.
With its high-resolution 4K video support, Snapdragon 820 has become a preferred choice of developers in industrial automation, defence, IoT, and aerospace. Healthcare is one such example which reaps benefits from 4K.

What is 4K technology?

4K technology, widely known as Ultra HD is an image or video which renders a resolution of 4096/3840 x 2160 pixels i.e nearly four times that of Full HD. It can light up to 8.3 million pixels producing a superior quality picture and allows the display size to increase without compromising on picture quality. Hence, 4K is becoming a widely accepted standard for the picture quality.

What role Snapdragon 820 plays in 4K UHD technology?

The Snapdragon 820 processor will enable a more immersive experience for next-gen embedded applications which thrive on 4K technology. By featuring an advanced Adreno 530 GPU and 14-bit Qualcomm® Spectra™ Image Signal Processor (ISP), Snapdragon 820 aims to capture the image of up to 28 megapixels with zero shutter lag. Also with the help of the hybrid autofocus and multi-sensor fusion algorithms, the Spectra ISP can capture a wider gamut of colors.

Why we need higher image quality in healthcare?

Whether it is diagnosing the cardiovascular issue or monitoring a blood glucose level, healthcare demands enhanced detailing in terms of image quality. Accuracy in color rendering, palpable camera resolution, and apt monitor size and sharpness - all will have a great impact on precise decision making. Nursing homes, public healthcare drives, maternity/fertility units or emergency wards have got a lot to benefit from switching to 4K. Following are the few healthcare areas where increased image quality will play a key role:

1. Medical Imaging

Healthcare advancements are generally defined by developments in diagnostic processes. Even after having finest imaging faculties, it is a journey far from over. Widely used imaging technology is Computed Tomography(CT) based X-Ray. Of late, there are developments like multiple detectors computed tomography (MDCT) and high-resolution CT (HRCT) scanners loaded with higher capabilities to generate and assimilate vast data sets.

CT process involves multiple scans and combining them to get a reconstructed holistic image. But, for sensitive patients, it is preferable to avoid the repeated scans. The 4K UHD resolution can offer higher quality image so that the desired data can be achieved with minimum scanning cycles.

2. Endoscopy

When compared with 1080p technology, 4K endoscopic imaging is likely to bring major changes in future of surgical endoscopy.

4K UHD endoscopy promises to offer physicians with superior support for their high-precision work. It aims to open up unprecedented possibilities for complex procedures thereby helps in improving clinical outcomes. When the image offered has 4K resolution, it reduces the movement of the endoscopic camera and brings down the cost and complexity of the process involved. It can extend its capacity to anastomose delicate nerves as well as effective resections of cancer tissues during surgery.

3. Telemedicine

Due to urban traffic issues and soaring real estate costs, more health providers are switching to digital channels. Improved internet speeds, the universal reach of smartphones and changing urban lifestyle has made their job still more accessible. Now they are well equipped to handle high-quality 4K videos which offer higher detail for the healthcare experts.

The idea of ‘hospital without beds’ offering remote support to ICUs, out-patient wards and other smaller departments have become the new reality of today’s healthcare. Now physicians can operate from remote places - sometimes across the borders to guide the semi-skilled healthcare representatives.

For instance, if the video rendered is of 4K resolution, the physician can zoom in close enough to read the print on the intravenous fluid bag. This eliminates the human intervention to the extent that can be reflected in the reduced invoice costs for the patients.

4. Medical Simulation

Medical simulation is the advanced approach to train the healthcare specialists using state-of-the-art technology. It is the trial based learning system for healthcare professionals who don’t have access to real-life patients. In nursing, surgical or clinical departments - medical simulation expedite the effective training of learners without compromising the safety of a patient.

With the help of immersive technology, the learners are allowed to get a professional assistance by working on a mannequin (patient simulator on which the clinical skills will experiment). Its advantages are many but mainly centered on the feedback loops and recurring processes. With the help of 4K streaming, large displays can create a virtual setting with which students can interact with a mannequin. Since the quality of the picture will be very high, trainers can pause and zoom-in to debrief an explanation on a specific organ.

5. Healthcare Surveillance Applications

A hospital will have vast parking lots, stretched hallways and large OPDs. To monitor the whole building is to install hundreds of surveillance cameras. This can complicate the surveillance topology and may result in entangled networks. As a fix, we need to bring down the number of cameras installed.

The only way to do this is by increasing the resolution of current cameras. When we upgrade the current 1080p cameras/displays to the 4K resolution, it increases the image quality by four times. This brings down the number of displays required thereby reducing the number of live staffs monitoring during the shifts.

Healthcare has a lot to benefit from inducting 4K UHD resolution into their operating mix. The challenge rises when upgrading the ability of hardware systems which can support Snapdragon 820’s 4K resolution. Sustained developments in Snapdragon 820 based System on Modules now provide medical device manufacturers with a stream of opportunities to reckon with.