Washington Post

How drones can improve medical care access

By Elahe Izadi 

Drones seem perfect for quick and fast delivery of all sorts of cargo. So why not biomedical specimens?

Well, before the medical community goes down that road, researchers with the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine wanted to know whether an actual drone flight, including a shaky takeoff and bumpy landing, would affect the specimens.

So they tested it in a proof-of-concept study. And they discovered that the process of flying in a drone didn't significantly impact blood samples; the findings were published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE.

Timothy Amukele, a pathologist at Johns Hopkins, said he was interested in boosting access to medical care. He cited "decades of research" showing that poor access to medical care is more expensive and increases poor patient outcome, such as suffering or even death. "If we now have a cheaper way to move samples, it's a good thing, especially for patients who are hard to reach, whether they live in rural areas or places without good roads," he said.


Jeff Street

Jeff Street is a drone engineer and pilot with more than ten years of experience leading small teams to develop innovative new vehicles.