Spright, the drone division of aerial medical service provider Air Methods, is now one step closer to launching the first bidirectional American medical drone delivery network. The company has set the record for completing the longest beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone flight by a commercial entity in the US.
The 29-mile flight was accomplished in Kansas using German-made Wingcopter 198 eVTOL aircraft. The fixed-wing drone departed from Hutchinson Medical Center in Hutchinson and flew to Rice County District Hospital in Lyons, reaching its destination in approximately 23 minutes. In comparison, the same journey would have taken 45 minutes to complete by road. This is exactly why medical drone delivery is so critical for rural areas like Lyons.
As Spright points out, economic pressures often limit the patient services available through community health centers in rural and remote areas. Medical supplies such as blood and critical drugs are often centralized in larger healthcare facilities to control costs. In emergency medical situations, accessing these inventories becomes both challenging and time-consuming, thus delaying care and threatening positive patient outcomes.
The drone company says it is now in a position to enable faster and more efficient on-demand transport of vital medical supplies. Here’s what Spright president, Joseph Resnik, said:
We are proud to be leading the UAS industry in opening corridors of opportunity for commercial drone delivery. We look forward to the next phase of our effort to establish a US medical drone network that connects communities with the resources needed to expand healthcare access and improve patient care.
Chuck Welch, the chief strategy officer of Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System, also sees medical drone deliveries as a win for the staff, patients, and the broader region as a whole. Welch said:
We are committed to delivering the best care possible for our patients. Partnering with Spright on this groundbreaking drone delivery effort will allow us to better serve our patients and communities, but also create internal efficiencies through enhanced resource allocation.
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