Download Our DHN Survey Result 2024
scalehealthtech Realize your Healthcare’s Digital Transformation journey with ScaleHealthTech Learn More

AIIMS Bhubaneswar Pilots Drone Delivery for Healthcare Services in Odisha

Written by : Jayati Dubey

January 25, 2024

Category Img

The drones can carry up to 5kg and cover a distance of up to 160 km, making them suitable for healthcare accessibility in challenging terrains.

The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Bhubaneswar, has conducted experimental drone delivery trials to provide healthcare services in the state of Odisha.

The trial involved a drone completing a round trip of 120 km from AIIMS Bhubaneswar to the Community Health Centre (CHC) Tangi and back in 1.10 hours, carrying essential blood supplies weighing approximately 2kg. The trial's success has opened possibilities for using drones to supplement existing logistics methods in healthcare delivery.

The hospital reported that the drone used in the trial completed the journey without encountering any operational issues, showcasing a promising potential to play a pivotal role in healthcare logistics.

Upon introducing this service, Dr Ashutosh Biswas, executive director, AIIMS, reaffirmed the institute's dedication to creating a model that integrates technology into the healthcare system. This model complements existing logistics methods and provides recommendations for drone-based medical supply delivery's sustained long-term viability.

He said, "We have successfully carried out the experiments. The drone not only delivered the blood units but also collected blood samples from the CHC to AIIMS. We are also considering the option to deliver emergency drugs and injections through the drone service. AIIMS Bhubaneswar, as a leading tertiary healthcare provider has created this opportunity for the people of Odisha."

Biswas further noted that the induction of drone delivery can boost healthcare services in rural, tribal, and semi-urban locations. These drones can carry multiple health products including vaccines, essential drugs and diagnostic samples, he added.

Drone Delivery- A Game-Changer

The AIIMS executive director sees the experiment as a game-changer, especially for providing medical services to economically disadvantaged populations residing in remote areas.

Moreover, the drone-based delivery system can prove crucial during natural disasters, overcoming geographical barriers and ensuring timely delivery of critical medical supplies, including emergency medicine, blood samples, and blood products, to remote areas.

The drone used in the trial can carry up to 5kg and can cover a distance of up to 160 km. This capability makes it suitable for enhancing healthcare accessibility in challenging terrains or areas affected by floods.

Long-range drones can operate for three hours, covering a radial distance of 200km and travelling at a speed of 35 km per hour. The cost of one drone is estimated to be around INR 9-10 Lakh.

Rising Trend of Drone Delivery in Healthcare

The trial's success has sparked interest at the government level, with the Odisha government contemplating extensive use of drones, particularly for vaccine distribution in remote regions such as Kalahandi, Malkangiri, Koraput districts, and other challenging terrains.

The government had previously experimented with drone usage, using them to disinfect marketplaces to reduce human interaction during the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020-21.

Officials note that technologically advanced and well-equipped drones offer a range of services beyond healthcare, including railways, road services, infrastructure, engineering, security and surveillance, river mapping, forest services, and surveys.

Further, drones can be instrumental in border security, surveillance, and locating hideouts in forest areas, including those used by extremist groups.

The use of drones aligns with the broader goal of leveraging technology to enhance public health services and emergency response capabilities. The successful trial in Odisha opens avenues for further exploration and implementation of drone-based healthcare logistics on a larger scale.

In another development, Samridh Healthcare Blended Finance Facility partnered with pharma giant Redwing to launch a pilot drone network to enhance the accessibility and affordability of healthcare services in the Rayagada district of Odisha.

Using drones for healthcare delivery has started taking root in India. Besides many such instances, AIIMS Bilaspur collaborated with drone startup TechEagle for efficient healthcare delivery in Himachal Pradesh. This includes prompt blood tests and permits precise treatment strategising ahead of patients' hospital arrivals, potentially leading to time-saving and life-saving outcomes.


Digital Health News ( DHN) is India’s first dedicated digital health news platform launched by Industry recognized HealthTech Leaders. DHN Is Industry’s Leading Source Of HealthTech Business, Insights, Trends And Policy News.

DHN Provides In-Depth Data Analysis And Covers Most Impactful News As They Happen Across Entire Ecosystem Including Emerging Technology Trends And Innovations, Digital Health Startups, Hospitals, Health Insurance, Govt. Agencies & Policies, Pharmaceuticals And Biotech.


© Digital Health News 2024