Drone applications: The applications of drones in medicine

In this article I will be presenting the application of drones in medicine; blood transportation, emergency and supporting medical healthcare.

I- Transportation (Blood and Medicines):

Drones were used to transport blood products and medicines to critical access hospitals and remote regions. These drones are navigated using the GPS & Rwanda’s cellular network. Hospitals ordered blood & medicines via text messages and received the supplies within 30 min. The electric drones can carry 3 pounds of blood or medicine and can fly 75 miles before recharging. Several prior studies have demonstrated that drones are a safe method for transporting blood products, donated blood and vaccines using samples containing microbes. The main benefit of the drone’s delivery system is that it can be used in any place, any time. It would first be used exclusively for certain types of emergencies. Timothy Amukele, MD, PhD an assistant professor of pathology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues placed large bags of blood products into a cooler loaded on a drone that was flown 8 to 12 miles at about 328 feet off the ground. Flight time was just over 26 minutes.
Service Provider: Flirtey Zipline

Image references:

Videos showing real examples of blood transportation drones:
1) https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/13/16299448/drones-blood-rural-medicine-diagnostics-tests-future-rural-medicine
2) http://www.medicaldrones.org/publication-blood-products

List of brand and model of the drones used in the blood transportation:

Brand Model Name Manufacturer Country Website
· Matternet

· Ehang

· Project Wing

· HiRO

· vayu

· M2


· Project X Wing

· HiRO Telemedicine

· X5

· CyPhy Works Inc.

· Flirtey

· Matternet





II- Reaching Patients (In Emergency)

In mid-July 2015, the first federally-approved medical drone delivered 24 packages of medical supplies to a free health care clinic for 3,000 residents in Wise Country, Virginia, one of the U.S.’ most impoverished areas.
Drones could deliver medications and supplies to patients being cared for in the home instead of a hospital-based setting. When a provider rounds on a home patient, blood can be drawn and immediately sent by drone to the lab to be tested.
Drones make it possible to deliver blood, vaccines, birth control, snake bite serum and other medical supplies to rural areas and have the ability to reach victims who require immediate medical attention within minutes.
The ambulance drone prototype reaches top speeds of 100 km/h, reaching patients within 12 square kilometers (7.4 square miles) within one minute. This especially applies to emergencies such as heart failure, accidents, drownings, traumas and respiratory problems, and it has become possible because life-saving technologies, such as a defibrillator, can now be designed small enough to be transported by a drone.
Researchers noted that the drone arrived more quickly than EMS in all cases with a response time of 16:39 min.


Image references:

Videos showing real examples of emergency drones:
1) https://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/ambulance-drone-could-drastically-increase-heart-attack-survival/
2) https://www.dronesinhealthcare.com/

List of brand and model of the drones used in emergency intervention:

Brand Model Name Manufacturer Country Website
· TU Delft


· Ehang

· TU

· DHL parcelcopter

· Ehang 184

· TU Delft Netherlands www.tudelft.nl


III- Supporting Hospital Operations

In the future, nurses could be relieved from delivering medicine to a patient. Small indoor drones can fulfill this purpose quite easily. One way is by transporting blood samples and medications from floor to floor or building to building, rather than making such deliveries by foot or through the pneumatic tube systems hospitals typically use, this can be particularly helpful for growing hospitals making additions.

Expanding a pneumatic tube system is a costly endeavor, but using a drone instead gives hospitals the ability to transport specimens and medications from floor to floor at a low cost.


References and documentation for drone applications in medicine:


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4 thoughts to “Drone applications: The applications of drones in medicine”

  1. I could really see the usefulness of drones for delivering items for emergencies. I live in Colorado where there are a lot of hiking and skiing accidents and injuries. There is rarely a large flat area nearby for a helicopter. If someone is lucky enough to find help yet need a snake bite anti venom or blood the help would have to hike out for miles usually to obtain it then hike back in to deliver. With a drone it could seriously save lives in areas like this. We have great search and rescue that is trained at getting to these remote locations but do not always know what to have on hand as details of what the patient needs can be spotty at best. This is a fantastic advancement in technology. Thank you for sharing. I will feel a bit safer this winter going into the back country areas.

    1. Thanks Maryann for your comment!
      Currently the drones are being used in many fields and the medicine is one of them. They paly an important complementary role for the existing technics and existing tools.
      We are lucky with the usage of this technology which will help facilitate our lives in the futur !


  2. Hi
    Your content was very informative, honestly up to this point I thought the drones was just a toy, or was used in low budget movies to give the appearance of hi tech. Thank you for bringing this wonderful piece of technology to my attention, i’ll never look at those the same way again. The references and documentation was definitely a brilliant move, it gives the visitor(s) to your page more than enough information on the page, and should one choose to learn more then there’s additional information if required.

    Well done
    To Your Success

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