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Intermountain to use drones for Salt Lake-area deliveries

A Zipline-brand medicine delivery descends from the sky.
Intermountain Healthcare
A Zipline-brand medicine delivery descends from the sky.

Instead of always picking up prescriptions in person, people near Salt Lake City may be able to order them by drone soon.

Intermountain Healthcare announced it’ll partner with automated delivery startup Zipline to serve patients within a 50-mile radius of Salt Lake City. They expect to deliver specialty pharmaceuticals and homecare products in Utah in mid-2022. Over time, the goal is to deliver a wider range of medications and over-the-counter items.

“Patients can connect with providers from the home, and then receive the medications and supplies they need in a matter of minutes, directly to their doorsteps,” said Keller Rinaudo, co-founder and CEO of Zipline. “It comes down to making healthcare more equitable, efficient, and reliable for people, regardless of where they live or their circumstances.”

Zipline drones are electric, fixed-wing aircraft and will still need approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to operate in Utah, according to Bloomberg. They can travel in most weather conditions and deliver to areas about the size of a small lawn.

The company made first deliveries of blood in Rwanda in 2016. Its primary services today are delivering blood and vaccines in Rwanda and Ghana. Last week, the company announced the first delivery of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in Ghana, following the announcement of its 200,000th commercial delivery worldwide in October.

The Utah hospital company would join hospitals in North Carolina, New York and countries all over the world in delivering medical products by drone.

The CEOs of both companies will discuss the initiative at Reuters Total Health Virtual Global Conference on November 17, 2021. For more information, please visitreutersevents.com/events/healthcare.