Intermountain Healthcare launches drone delivery of medications to patients in the Salt Lake Valley area
Intermountain Healthcare, in partnership with Zipline, launched drone delivery services to patients in the Salt Lake Valley region on Tuesday.
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The innovative service will deliver shipments of prescriptions and medical products via unmanned, battery-powered drones right into people’s yards. Both companies said the partnership makes health care more accessible, convenient, and better for the environment.
The Utah Division of Aeronautics plans to submit a study on air mobility to legislators in the next session that would look at building a phased approach to building air mobility infrastructure to further support drone package deliveries.
The Utah Department of Transportation said medication deliveries, like the one launched on Tuesday, could take 30 minutes or less at one-tenth the cost of road travel.
Intermountain said the service will support convenience and accessibility for its patients, particularly if they are less mobile, sick, or have obligations that make in-person visits problematic.
“This partnership allows us to reach patients faster than we ever thought possible, at a time that’s convenient for them,” said Gordon Slade, Associate Vice President of Supply Chain Logistics at Intermountain Healthcare. “Combined with our telehealth services like Connect Care, it’s possible to virtually see a doctor and get medication you need delivered from Zipline, without having to travel to a clinic or the hospital.”
Zipline is planning to grow its delivery system, which currently only serves residents of Salt Lake and Utah counties based on certain eligibility factors such as yard size, location, and surrounding air space.
“Zipline and Intermountain Healthcare are working together to eliminate the burdens that make it harder to get the care you need when you need it,” said Bijal Mehta, Head of Global Fulfillment Operations at Zipline. “We believe instant delivery is a key element to the future of healthcare and we are excited to bring our service to the Salt Lake City area to make people’s lives better, easier, and healthier.”
The company expects the partnership to expand gradually over the next 5 years and eventually be capable of delivering to 90% of Intermountain Healthcare patient homes in the Salt Lake Valley area.