UPS looks to ring healthcare’s doorbell

United Parcel Service is preparing to enter the healthcare industry by dispatching nurses to vaccinate adults in their homes, according to Reuters.

While UPS did not disclose which vaccines it would be offering, drugmaker Merck & Co. told Reuters it is contemplating partnering with UPS on the project.

Workers at the 1.7 million-square-foot UPS healthcare complex will package the vaccines and  ship them to more than 4,700 UPS stores. At those stores, a home health nurse who is contracted by a UPS clinical trial logistics unit, called Marken, will gather the vaccines and transport them to the patient’s home. The nurse will administer the vaccine in the home.

The initial project is to test whether the packaging and delivery company can “connect all these dots,” according to Marken CEO Wes Wheeler, who is overseeing the vaccine initiative.

The UPS push into healthcare comes as the company braces for a slow economy and increased competition from rival Amazon. The UPS vaccine delivery project also may help reduce healthcare costs, as patients will no longer have to see physicians to have their vaccines administered.

Merck, a major healthcare customer of UPS, offers vaccines to treat illnesses ranging from shingles to the flu.

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