INDIA – Aster DM Healthcare has partnered with Skye Air Mobility, a drone-based logistics company, to transport diagnostic samples and medications.
It is an end-to-end movement that not only expedites things because Bengaluru is one of the most congested cities, but also allows them (Aster) to get a better price by exporting or conducting the reverse trip with payloads.
This is one of the early live use cases of drone technology in Indian healthcare, demonstrating cost-effectiveness and delivery time reduction.
Consequently, Aster DM Healthcare and Skye Air have successfully completed the drone trials to deliver diagnostic samples and medicines between Aster RV Hospital to Aster Clinics in Bengaluru, India.
The new collaboration will be an intra-city logistics, meaning it will operate within a 7-kilometre of JP Nagar in Bengaluru, where the Aster RV hospital is located, with an average payload of 3 to 4 kilos.
Each of these drones can carry up to 26 kg while flying at a height of 400 feet. The drone-led delivery system is executed through a designated Skye Air cold chain professional to first load the medicine and diagnostic sample in a temperature-controlled payload box.
This payload box is then loaded in the drone which is then directed by drone pilots at the command center through a predetermined route to a fixed landing pad.
Aster DM Healthcare began in the UAE and has since grown to include facilities in Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, and India.
The healthcare organization operates hospitals, diagnostic centers, medical centers, and pharmacies in India and the Middle East.
This paradigm shift from the traditional workflow of the healthcare system to a digitized healthcare will streamline all Aster DM’s operations and ensure an efficient delivery system.
Ramesh Kumar, Chief Executive Officer at Aster DM stated that the hospital chain is presently considering a B2B model for drone-based delivery services, with ambitions to expand this service to the B2C (patients/customers) level to supply emergency medications.
Earlier on, Zipline, a US-based company that specializes in delivering medical supplies using self-flying drones had launched its operations in Japan to fast-track delivery of medical supplies to hospitals and pharmacies in the hard-to-reach rural areas.
The operations will be carried out by a subsidiary called Sora-iina, which will manage a distribution center and flight services from Fukue Port on the Goto Islands.