Intermountain, drone company to deliver medical supplies in Salt Lake City

Intermountain Healthcare said Nov. 11 it has partnered with drone delivery company Zipline to deliver prescriptions and medical supplies to patients in the Salt Lake City metro area. 

The Salt Lake City-based health system said it will initially focus on delivering specialty pharmaceuticals and home care products to patients who live within a 50-mile radius of its distribution center in the Salt Lake area. 

It expects the program to grow over several years to complete hundreds of deliveries each day and be capable of delivering to 90 percent of patient homes in the region. It also plans to expand what it can deliver to include a range of medications and products, including prescriptions and over-the-counter medical items. 

"Making access to healthcare faster and more convenient will lead to better health outcomes for our patients," Marc Harrison, MD, president and CEO of Intermountain Healthcare, said in a news release. "And with Zipline, we're making the idea of true care at home a reality for many of our patients."

Zipline uses a fleet of small, autonomous aircraft to make deliveries. The drones can travel long distances in most weather conditions and parachute packages to the ground. The aircraft are entirely electric and have the potential to reduce vehicle traffic and carbon emissions from medical deliveries, the news release said. 

Intermountain and Zipline said they plan to begin making deliveries by midyear 2022. 

Read the full news release here.

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