CASE STUDY: Drones Expedite Delivery of Medical Services

Drones prove useful for delivery of lab specimens

SUMMARY: Drones can be an effective tool for speeding up the delivery of lab results and other medical items when time is of the essence. Although most facilities do not have adequate infrastructure to accommodate UAV landings/takeoffs, this will evolve with time. PROBLEM: Doctors often need to quickly sent lab test specimens to hospitals and other medical facilities when time is of the essence. In crowded cities, delays associated with rush hour and road construction can often lead to critical, costly delays. Additionally, health care providers and responders often have problems getting essential media supplies into rural, hard to reach places in a timely fashion. This hampers the quality of patient care and may even cost lives. SOLUTION: Timothy Amukele, an assistant professor of pathology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, has been conducting research with transporting blood specimens via UAV technology. Last July, his team collected several hundred test samples from health patients and drove them to a field outside of Baltimore. The team then packed half of the blood samples into foam containers and flew them around in a drone for nearly 40 minutes. All the samples were then transported back for analysis. The goal was to determine if the drone flight affecting any change upon those samples, compared to the samples that remained stabilized on the ground. The final lab results were the same for each group, indicating that the UAV flight had no detrimental impact on the blood samples. Since the initial study, several follow-up research studies have been conducted, all of which indicate that transporting medical samples and lab specimens via drones appears to have no detrimental impact on the final outcome of the lab results. UAV's are proving to represent significant potential in reshaping portions of the healthcare services industry.

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