Cleveland Clinic to launch drone delivery service for certain medicine in 2025
Medicine deserts. or areas that don't have pharmacies for the residents living there, may soon be a thing of the past.
Across Northeast Ohio, the Cleveland Clinic is planning to launch a drone delivery service to bring certain medications directly to patients in 2025.
Initially, the service will be used to send specialty medicines and other prescriptions to patients homes from more than a dozen Cleveland Clinic locations, according to the health provider.
"We are always looking for solutions that are cost-effective, reliable and reduce the burden of getting medications to our patients," said Bill Peacock, chief of operations at Cleveland Clinic, said in a statement. "Not only are deliveries via drone more accurate and efficient, the technology we are utilizing is environmentally friendly. The drones are small, electric and use very little energy for deliveries."
The program will eventually expand to include the delivery of lab samples, prescription meals, medical and surgical supplies and items for hospital-at-home services.
To achieve this goal, the clinic is partnering with Zipline, a drone company based in San Francisco, which began operation in 2016 and now operates in seven countries.
The company says its latest Platform 2 system can perform precise deliveries to dense urban areas and complete a 10-mile delivery in 10 minutes.
The infrastructure for this service, which includes docks and loading portals for the drones will be added at several facilities in 2024.
When a prescription is ready, the drone will be loaded. It will then fly at 300 feet to a patient's home and deploy an autonomous delivery droid that drops off the package to areas as small as a patio table or front steps to a home, according to the clinic.
The company says patients will be able to track their delivery in real time.
The system and aircraft are designed with multiple layers of safety including preflight inspections and real-time monitoring by operations teams, according to the company.
"This technology will help us achieve our goal to expand our pharmacy home delivery program and provide easier, quicker access to prescribed medications in our communities," said Geoff Gates, senior director of supply chain management at Cleveland Clinic.