Zipline and OhioHealth eye 2025 for medical delivery network


OhioHealth and Zipline have partnered to launch a drone network capable of delivering prescriptions direct to the door in Columbus in 2025.

With a plan to deploy the initial network across the greater Columbus area it should have the potential to reach around two million people, according to Zipline. The fully-electric autonomous Platform 2, which is still under development, will also move lab samples and supplies between OhioHealth facilities.

Breanna Badanes , managing director, Communications and Policy at DriveOhio, a section of Ohio’s Department of Transportation, told Revolution.Aero: “This technology has the potential to be a game-changer in healthcare, providing better service that’s fast and reliable when people need it the most. Ohio remains at the forefront of cutting-edge aviation technology and the advancement of uncrewed aircraft for the benefit of our residents, and we’re excited about partnerships like this one that could potentially make a huge difference in the quality of life for Ohioans.”

Charles McCluskey III, OhioHealth vice president of Pharmacy Services, said: “Zipline drone delivery provides a great alternative for OhioHealth as we look to grow our home infusion and specialty pharmacy home delivery services. It gets products to patients more quickly and at a lower cost, and uses less carbon intensive packing materials compared to our traditional delivery methods.”

OhioHealth will also be able to move urgently needed supplies and equipment to care sites using the Platform 2 fleet.

Hillary Brendzel, head of Zipline’s US Healthcare Practice, said: “We’re able to move lab samples between facilities in minutes and at a moment’s notice, instead of the hours it can currently take. That time savings is invaluable at every stage of the healthcare journey and can mean that people get diagnosed and treated faster, leading to better health outcomes.”

Zipline’s drones fly more than 300ft (100m) above the ground and are nearly inaudible, designers claim. When the drone arrives at its destination, it hovers at that altitude, while its autonomous delivery droid manoeuvres down a tether, steers to location and drops off its package. Several US organisations have signed on to use Zipline’s Platform 2 system including Michigan Medicine, MultiCare Health Systems, Intermountain Health, GNC and Sweetgreen.