Cleveland Clinic has announced its intention to start utilizing drones for the delivery of select medications directly to patients' homes by 2025. The early phase of this initiative will involve dispatching specialty medicines and various prescriptions from over twelve Cleveland Clinic facilities throughout Northeast Ohio. In time, the service will grow to cover the transportation of lab samples, medical and surgical supplies, prescription meals, and components for hospital-at-home services. These deliveries were traditionally handled through automotive couriers or ground shipping methods.
Bill Peacock, Chief of Operations at Cleveland Clinic, shared the institution's continuous pursuit of efficient, affordable, and reliable solutions for medicine delivery. He highlighted the merits of the drone system, including its accuracy, efficiency, and eco-friendly nature, given the drones' electric make-up and low-energy consumption.
Zipline's Platform 2 system will be the backbone of Cleveland Clinic's drone deliveries. Notably, this system can execute accurate deliveries even in densely populated urban regions and boasts a delivery speed of roughly 10 miles in about 10 minutes. Infrastructure to support this initiative, including drone docks and loading stations, will be established at multiple Cleveland Clinic locations in Northeast Ohio. The operational flow involves a Cleveland Clinic technician loading the drone, which then autonomously undocks, flies to the intended patient's residence, and deploys an autonomous droid for precise package placement. The delivery process allows patients to monitor their shipments in real time.
Keller Rinaudo Cliffton, Co-Founder and CEO of Zipline, expressed enthusiasm at the prospect of offering speedy, eco-friendly, and convenient deliveries to Cleveland Clinic patients. His company has been at the forefront of enhancing healthcare accessibility for almost a decade.
Before the service's launch in 2025, Cleveland Clinic will spend 2024 coordinating with government bodies to ensure the drone delivery system adheres to all requisite safety and technical guidelines. Concurrently, the clinic will commence the setup of the necessary drone infrastructure.
Geoff Gates, the senior director of Supply Chain Management at Cleveland Clinic, viewed the forthcoming drone delivery service as a significant stride in amplifying the reach of the clinic's pharmacy home delivery program. It aims to simplify and expedite the process of medication access for local communities.
Safety remains paramount with the drone delivery system. Both the system and its aircraft incorporate multiple safety layers, such as thorough preflight inspections and real-time oversight by specialized operations teams. Zipline, a pioneer in the medical product delivery domain since 2016, currently serves seven countries, reaching millions of individuals daily.
Cleveland Clinic has indicated that further details regarding their delivery program will be shared as its operational date nears.