Wing and Apian have partnered with Blackrock Health and St. Vincent’s Private Hospital in Dublin along with leading healthcare technology company, Medtronic to launch an innovative drone delivery trial demonstrating the benefits drones could offer in healthcare logistics.

Over the next few months, Wing and Apian will deploy drone delivery to carry medical supplies and devices to hospitals. The delivery service will commence with items including Medtronic’s ingestible camera, PillCam™, sutures, surgical tools and heart valve repair products, with plans to expand to pacemakers and Implantable Cardiac Defibrillators (ICDs) in the future. The first deliveries will be received in Dublin’s Blackrock Health, Blackrock Clinic and St. Vincent’s Private Hospital in the coming days.

This delivery of Medtronic medical supplies to Blackrock Clinic, part of Blackrock Health Group, and St. Vincent’s Private Hospital, part of St Vincent’s Healthcare Group, will be Ireland’s first ongoing medical device delivery service by drone.

“The use of drones in medical logistics presents an exciting opportunity to get our life-saving technologies to the people who need them quicker than ever before,” said Kristian Howells, Group Commercial Director at Medtronic. “Traditional supply chains have limitations that the inclusion of drones may help to overcome. What we learn from this pilot programme will help us to create more resilient supply chains that are patient focused.”

The partnership has been designed to trial faster, more reliable, and sustainable medical logistics - supporting patients as they receive the care they need, sooner. Medical drone deliveries have the potential to create more efficient healthcare systems, with less wastage of medical supplies, and more space for patient-facing care facilities as providers receive what they need, when they need it.

Currently, hospitals depend on road vehicles to transport medical supplies to hospitals or healthcare centres, but urban locations experience frequent delays due to congestion, as well as associated higher carbon emissions. Wing’s drones, which are being used in this programme, are lightweight and electric, and can make quicker, more reliable deliveries than traditional modes of transport, as seen in its more than 350,000 commercial deliveries across the globe. They will fly more direct routes and at speeds up to approximately 100 km per hour, avoiding the traffic congestion on Dublin’s roads.

“At Blackrock Health, innovation is at the core of what we do, and this partnership is a prime example of the opportunities that exist when integrating technology into healthcare industry, with an added benefit of supporting our commitment to sustainability,” shared Dr. Caroline Whelan, CEO of Blackrock Health “We are excited by the possibilities that come with this drone delivery service, and hope to expand this beyond receiving medical supplies, by extending use to other services in time between our hospitals.”

Brian Fitzgerald, CEO, St Vincent’s Private Hospital said; “St Vincent’s Healthcare Group is continuously harnessing advances in science and research to provide innovative treatment and care to our patients. Participating in this trial continues this tradition and allows St Vincent’s Private Hospital to explore how integrating drone technology into our hospital can improve patient care, enhance supply chain management and enable us to operate more efficiently and sustainably”.

The initiative will start with up to 100 weekly flights. The partners have cooperated to implement rigorous safety mechanisms and are working closely with the Irish Aviation Authority to ensure these operations leverage the support and experience of the regulator and adhere to their high operational standards.

“Wing is pleased to support a global leader in healthcare technology and two innovative hospitals to meet their needs for a more efficient delivery service for essential technology. We’re excited to be part of Ireland’s forward-looking healthcare technology market, and to expand our existing portfolio of retail and medical deliveries around the world,” said Nicole Schone, Head of Marketing & Communications at Wing. “We look forward to this trial further demonstrating the clear value that Wing drone delivery has for the healthcare industry and beyond.”

The momentum in drone delivery, and its natural fit to serve healthcare, is clear. As noted by Hammad Jeilani, Founder and Medical Director of Apian: “Apian is delivering the future model for a more innovative and efficient healthcare system and we are very proud to be part of this new partnership.”

Source: Apian