5 hospitals using drones to deliver COVID-19 supplies

With limited manpower and increased demand, five hospitals are using drones to deliver medical supplies, human tissue and medicine between facilities.

Here are five hospitals with drone programs:

  1. Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist partnered with UPS to use drones to deliver COVID-19 vaccines, Transportation Topics reported. The health system launched the program with its health IT enterprise business, iQ Healthtech Labs. The vaccines will be delivered from its main medical center to family medicine practices within its network.

  2. Hutchinson (Kan.) Regional Medical Center is collaborating with German drone manufacturer Wingcopter and Denver-based air medical service provider Air Methods to pilot a drone-powered delivery network. The aircraft will deliver healthcare resources, such as medicine, lab samples and vaccines.

  3. The State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse teamed up with drone services company DroneUp and the Nuair Alliance, a nonprofit organization that tests unmanned aircraft systems. The trio piloted a yearlong project to test the use of drones in making medical deliveries, such as unused COVID-19 tests or a patient's tissue samples.

  4. Greenville, N.C.-based Vidant Health, Merck and drone startup Volansi partnered to deliver cold-chain medicines, such as aerosol sprays for asthma, eye drops for glaucoma, diabetes medications and COVID-19 vaccines.

  5. Charlotte, N.C.-based Novant Health launched its COVID-19 hospital emergency drone program with Zipline, a logistics service that provides drone flight services. The Federal Aviation Administration granted Novant Health a waiver to operate the drones, making it the first hospital to receive such a waiver.

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