Healthcare News & Insights

How drones could revolutionize care delivery at your hospital

Drones aren’t just for aerial photos anymore. The technology’s getting much more advanced. Amazon will be using them to deliver packages soon – and they’re also being used for health care. In the not-too-distant future, drones could be an essential part of your hospital. 

Internationally, drones are being used to deliver blood and other critical medical supplies to sick patients in hospitals located in areas with weak infrastructure and issues with transportation. A child in Ghana recently received a transplant of drone-delivered blood, according to an article in Vox.

Closer to home, drones have been deployed during disaster-response drills. And hospital designers are currently exploring the possibility of creating “drone-powered” hospitals in areas that are prone to hurricanes.

According to an article in design publication Dezeen, one design firm was inspired by the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico to create a hospital that could use drones to operate even if roads are destroyed or closed for long periods of time.

The firm created plans for a concept hospital that would have drone ports outside of every patient’s room. Drones could drop supplies directly into the hospital through the ports, which would lead to a cabinet inside each room. This would reduce the chance of supply shortages during a disaster, so patients’ care wouldn’t be compromised.

Because supplies would be delivered from off site, facilities powered by drones wouldn’t have to keep them on premise, which cuts down on the space needed to build them. These hospitals would be smaller and easier to construct in the areas that need them – which means they’d be great for rural areas prone to extreme weather.

Other uses for drones

Drones don’t just offer benefits to hospitals in disadvantaged or weather-ravaged areas, though. Almost any hospital would be able to use the technology to its advantage.

Here are a few potential uses, courtesy of

  • Bedside medication delivery. Instead of relying on nurses to bring medication to patients from the hospital pharmacy, drones could do the same job. This eliminates some of the potential for human error involved in administering medication, which could reduce the chance that patients receive the wrong drug or the wrong dosage. It also allows nurses to spend more of their time on hands-on care.
  • Transporting samples for lab tests. In another time-saving move, drones could be used to transport urine, blood and other samples from patients’ rooms to hospital labs for testing. This could free up even more of nurses’ time. And if results need to be sent to an off-site lab for more in-depth testing, the time it takes to get them there may be reduced significantly.
  • Enhanced home care. Recently, there’s been a push to keep patients with more minor ailments out of the hospital to save costs and increase the number of open beds for critically ill patients. Drones can make it easier for clinicians to administer care to these patients in their homes by sending them necessary medications and other essentials for treatment. Combined with telehealth technology, drones could be a cost-effective solution for facilities down the line.

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  1. Given the mess we are now in, drones will make an excellent choice.