by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby
Today, leading U.S. healthcare organizations Novant Health, Magellan Rx Management, and Cardinal Health launched long-range drone delivery systems in North Carolina, powered by instant logistics leader Zipline.
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Each of the organizations is collaborating with Zipline to deliver a variety of products out of a distribution center based in Kannapolis, North Carolina.
“We imagine a future in which goods are transported nearly instantly,” said Zipline founder and CEO Keller Rinaudo. “Together with Novant Health, Magellan Rx Management, and Cardinal Health, we are making it a reality. In the process, we are setting the bar for care and convenience with instant logistics.”
“North Carolina is first in flight, and Zipline’s work is taking us to new heights,” said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, who toured the Zipline facility earlier this month. “This innovative partnership will increase access to health care for our community.”
The creator and operator of the largest automated on-demand delivery service in the world, Zipline boasts a 98% reduction in emissions versus traditional methods of delivery and provides a faster and more personalized customer experience. Each of the three healthcare organizations partnering with Zipline will leverage its service in a different way in order to provide on-demand delivery.
Cardinal Health is transporting pharmaceutical products and medical supplies to Cannon Pharmacy Main in order to lower the risk of inventory stock-outs and provide patients with better access to the products they need. Meanwhile, Magellan Rx Management has become the first pharmacy benefits manager to deliver prescription medications directly to patients’ homes via drones. Novant Health, which first teamed with Zipline in 2020 to launch the United States’ first emergency drone logistics operation for pandemic response, is currently expanding to deliver specialty medications to its patients.
Automated on-demand delivery enables organizations and their customers to receive deliveries in as quickly as fifteen minutes. The North Carolina Zipline distribution center is able to serve customers within a 7,800 square mile area.
“Our launch of the nation’s first emergency drone operation was never the end-goal for our partnership with Zipline. Now we are transforming the patient experience by strengthening our virtual care ecosystem,” said Angela Yochem, executive vice president and chief transformation and digital officer, Novant Health. “While Novant Health has made great strides in our virtual care capabilities, there remains an opportunity for patients to receive all the care they need from home – from diagnosis to treatment. Innovative tools like Zipline’s on-demand deliveries allow us to completely reimagine a fully remote patient care model. The potential impact of this latest launch is immeasurable, and we are extremely energized about our role in creating a blueprint for health care systems across the country.”
“At Cardinal Health, we’re committed to working diligently to help ensure our healthcare provider customers have access to the right medication at the right time for their patients, and an effective distribution strategy is required to make this happen,” said Josh Dolan, Cardinal Health’s senior vice president of pharmaceutical operations. “Through our work with Zipline, we are able to expand our world class distribution services with innovative delivery methods that will help our customers meet their patients’ evolving needs – now and in the future.”
“At Magellan Rx Management, we are proud to be the first PBM to deliver specialty and traditional medications using drone delivery,” said Magellan Rx Management CEO Mostafa Kamal. “Together with Zipline, we have a unique opportunity to streamline the delivery of pharmaceuticals, improve access to care, and create a better experience for our patients—especially for those with complex and rare conditions who are often challenged with additional hurdles along their healthcare journey.”
On June 22, commercial deliveries kicked off with an initial 16 nautical mile flight. These are Zipline’s first operations since being awarded with its Part 135 certification on June 17 by the Federal Aviation Administration, a distinction the company is the fourth ever to receive in the United States. Cardinal Health, Magellan Rx Management, and Novant Health are only the latest in a growing number of Zipline partners.
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Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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