US: Drones in healthcare: 4 things to know

Drone Technology in Healthcare

Drone technology has the potential to save lives and increase health outcomes given its ability to travel long distances quickly.  Drones are of special use in rural communities, where the nearest pharmacies and hospitals may be inconveniently located.

Here are four ways drones are being used in healthcare:

1. To kick off the new year in Sweden, a defibrillator-carrying drone helped save a man’s life for the first time Jan. 4. The Verge reported that a 71-year-old man had a heart attack and was resuscitated by a doctor using a defibrillator flown in by a drone.

2. Scientists from the University of Cincinnati are developing telehealth drones that will be able to deliver medical equipment and medication inside people’s homes. The drones will be outfitted with sensors to help them maneuver indoors while holding medical kits.

3. Walmart and drone company Zipline inked a partnership Nov. 18, 2021, to instantly deliver healthcare items to consumers in Arkansas. Customers from hard-to-reach communities will be able to order select health items like thermometers and cough drops.

4. Zipline partnered with Ghana in March 2021 to use drones to deliver COVID-19 vaccines. Instead of landing, the autonomous drones drop the medical supplies into specialized landing nets.

5. Increasing numbers of hospitals, health systems and pharmacies are using drones to deliver medical supplies to patients and other stakeholders.

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