Cleveland Clinic to Use Zipline for Drone Delivery of Medical Supplies

Cleveland Clinic ZiplineCleveland Clinic to Utilize Zipline‘s Drone Delivery Services for Medications and Meals

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The program, which will initially focus on transporting medications from over a dozen Cleveland Clinic locations in the region, will ultimately expand to encompass a wider range of healthcare items. These include lab samples, prescription meals, medical and surgical supplies, and items required for hospital-at-home services. These deliveries, typically made by automotive couriers or ground transport, will now be handled by drones, promising enhanced accuracy and efficiency.

Bill Peacock, Chief of Operations at Cleveland Clinic, emphasized the institution’s commitment to finding cost-effective and reliable solutions that alleviate the challenges of medication delivery. “Not only are deliveries via drone more accurate and efficient, but the technology we are utilizing is environmentally friendly. The drones are small, electric, and use very little energy for deliveries,” said Peacock.

Zipline has been providing medical delivery services since 2016.  Zipline’s Platform 2 system can cover a distance of 10 miles in just 10 minutes, making it an ideal choice for healthcare-related deliveries. To facilitate this initiative, docking stations and loading portals will be established at several Cleveland Clinic facilities in Northeast Ohio.

The delivery process is straightforward. When a prescription or medical supply is ready for transport, a Cleveland Clinic technician will load it onto the drone. The drone will then autonomously undock, soar to an altitude of 300 feet, and fly to the patient’s residence. There, it will deploy an autonomous delivery droid, capable of navigating to the precise location and safely delivering the package, even to areas as small as a patio table or the front steps of a home. Once the delivery is complete, the drone will return to its dock. Patients will have real-time tracking capabilities to monitor the progress of their deliveries.

Keller Rinaudo Cliffton, Co-Founder and CEO of Zipline, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership, stating, “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 is poised to work closely with government officials in 2024 to ensure compliance with all safety and technical requirements for drone delivery. The installation of docking stations and loading portals for the drone system will also commence at this time.

Geoff Gates, senior director of Supply Chain Management at Cleveland Clinic, highlighted the impact of this technology on the institution’s healthcare services. “This technology will help us achieve our goal to expand our pharmacy home delivery program and provide easier, quicker access to prescribed medications in our communities,” said Gates.

The safety of this system is a top priority, with multiple layers of safety measures in place, including preflight inspections and real-time monitoring by operations teams. Zipline now operates in seven countries, serving millions of people daily.

As the implementation of the program draws nearer, Cleveland Clinic will release further details about the initiative. This collaboration with Zipline represents a significant step in improving healthcare accessibility and service delivery for patients in the Cleveland area.

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Miriam McNabbMiriam McNabb

Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry.  Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.

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