Leading instant logistics company Zipline is launching drone delivery of prescriptions and other medicines to the households of Intermountain Healthcare patients across Salt Lake City – an anticipated rollout that will eventually be capable of serving over a million people in Utah.
Zipline announced its intention to introduce the service last year, initially expecting a debut this spring or during the summer and ultimately deciding to formalize the start of operations today. The partnership makes Intermountain Healthcare the first company in its sector west of the Mississippi to use Zipline’s automated drones for deliveries of prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines to its patients, according to a communiqué.
The move follows Zipline’s introduction of similar aerial medicine deliveries in North Carolina last June – part of what is becoming expansive drone activity in its domestic US market that may soon rival those of its impressive networks in Africa.
Read more: Zipline drones begin on-demand healthcare deliveries in NC
The evolving operation will begin in Salt Lake and Utah counties with drone deliveries of medicine to local communities within a few miles of Zipline’s distribution center. Additional logistics facilities will be gradually added to the system that will eventually enlarge the potential households and community drop-off locations that can be served to cover over a million Intermountain Healthcare clients and 90% of all homes in the Salt Lake Valley area.
“This partnership allows us to reach patients faster than we ever thought possible, at a time that’s convenient for them,” said Gordon Slade, associate vice president of supply chain logistics at Intermountain Healthcare. “Combined with our telehealth services like Connect Care, it’s possible to virtually see a doctor and get medication you need delivered from Zipline, without having to travel to a clinic or the hospital.”
Clients of Intermountain Healthcare interested in benefiting from at-home delivery of medication by Zipline drones should visit the flyzipline.com/utah page to sign up for the service. Criteria including yard size, location, and surrounding airspace will be analyzed to determine which applicants UAVs can safely access, with eligible customers then being contacted and provided with full details for ordering.
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The operation will be of particular value to Intermountain Healthcare patients who are ill, have reduced mobility, or have work commitments complicating trips to a hospital or pharmacy by collecting prescriptions that Zipline drones will deliver to their homes within minutes of orders being made.
“Think back to the last time you had a doctor’s visit and then had to trek to the pharmacy for your prescription, making what can already be a time-consuming experience that much more draining,” said Bijal Mehta, head of global fulfillment operations at Zipline. “Zipline and Intermountain Healthcare are working together to eliminate the burdens that make it harder to get the care you need when you need it. We believe instant delivery is a key element to the future of healthcare and we are excited to bring our service to the Salt Lake City area to make people’s lives better, easier, and healthier.”