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US-Based Cleveland Clinic to Introduce Medicine Drone Delivery by 2025 in Partnership with Zipline

Written by : Aishwarya Sarthe

November 3, 2023

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Under the plan, Cleveland Clinic partnered with Zipline, a drone company, to enhance the precision and speed of deliveries, benefitting both patients and the healthcare system as a whole.

Cleveland Clinic, a leading US-based healthcare system, is going to start its medicine drone delivery service by 2025. 

This initiative aimed to streamline the delivery of essential medicines directly to patients' homes, focusing primarily on specialty drugs.

Under the plan, Cleveland Clinic partnered with Zipline, a drone company, to enhance the precision and speed of deliveries, benefitting both patients and the healthcare system as a whole.

Commenting on the cost-effectiveness and reliability of this approach, Bill Peacock, chief of operations at Cleveland Clinic, said, "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." This statement underscores the practical benefits that this initiative offers.

Under this plan, Cleveland Clinic incorporated docks for drones and loading portals into several facilities in northeast Ohio. When a prescription is ready, a trained technician from the clinic will load the drone. Subsequently, the drone will autonomously undock, fly at 300 feet to reach the patient's home, and deploy an autonomous delivery droid. 

This droid will navigate to the designated location and complete the delivery with remarkable precision. Patients can track their deliveries in real-time, providing them with a sense of assurance and convenience.

Talking about the same, Keller Rinaudo Cliffton, cofounder and CEO of Zipline, said, "Zipline has been focused on improving access to healthcare for eight years. We're thrilled to soon bring fast, sustainable, and convenient delivery to Cleveland Clinic patients." 

Cleveland Clinic's plan is not limited to medication deliveries; it will eventually include a broader range of services. This includes the delivery of lab samples, prescription meals, medical and surgical supplies, and items required for hospital-at-home services, all of which are traditionally transported by ground delivery. 

In 2024, Cleveland Clinic will collaborate with government officials to ensure compliance with safety and technical requirements for drone delivery. This will pave the way for the installation of docks and loading portals for the drone system, ensuring a seamless and secure process.

Established in 1921 by four esteemed physicians, Cleveland Clinic has grown into one of the nation's largest and most esteemed hospitals. 

In addition to its local presence in Northeast Ohio, Cleveland Clinic has expanded its reach globally to include Cleveland Clinic Florida, Cleveland Clinic Canada, Abu Dhabi, and the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.

Notably, it holds accreditation from The Joint Commission, the country's primary healthcare organization accreditor, solidifying its commitment to quality care and operational excellence.

In parallel, the drone delivery scene in India is also on the rise. 

Dubai-based United Parcel Service (UPS) engaged in discussions with the government of Himachal Pradesh to provide drone delivery for essential medicines and vaccines during natural calamities. 

Also, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)  ventured into drone technology for healthcare in Himachal Pradesh's Lahaul and Spiti districts to transport critical medical supplies to remote areas.


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