Rady Children's testing drone delivery of genomic samples

Rady Children's Institute for Genomic Medicine, a subsidiary of Rady Children's Hospital—San Diego, has partnered with Deloitte for a pilot program using unmanned aircraft systems to deliver genomic testing specimens from the hospital to the lab.

The goal of the drone program is to shorten the time between when a genomic sample is taken and when test results are returned to care teams, ideally resulting in improved patient outcomes.

"We are excited about the potential this innovative technology offers to improve healthcare outcomes for critically sick babies," Stephen Kingsmore, MD, president and CEO of the institute, said in a Jan. 21 news release. "By rapidly decoding a child's DNA, we can provide medical teams with vital information to guide [personalized] patient care. When minutes matter, we can't afford to have a sample delayed in transit."

The project is currently still in testing stages; once funding is obtained, successful testing will need to be completed and validated by the Federal Aviation Administration before the drone technology can be adopted for widespread routine use.

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