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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 46-47

Drones the frontier technology in health care: Gaining traction as a new medical tool

1 Department of Dental Health Sciences, Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, Nashik, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Psychiatric Social Work, NIMHANS, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Date of Submission08-Jan-2022
Date of Decision22-Jan-2022
Date of Acceptance05-Feb-2022
Date of Web Publication16-May-2022

Correspondence Address:
Mr. Srikanth Pallerla
Department of Psychiatric Social Work, NIMHANS, Hosur Main Road, Bengaluru - 560 029, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jphpc.jphpc_3_22

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How to cite this article:
Kapote S, Pallerla S. Drones the frontier technology in health care: Gaining traction as a new medical tool. J Public Health Prim Care 2022;3:46-7

How to cite this URL:
Kapote S, Pallerla S. Drones the frontier technology in health care: Gaining traction as a new medical tool. J Public Health Prim Care [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Jul 4];3:46-7. Available from: http://www.jphpc.com/text.asp?2022/3/2/46/345273


Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, are a viable option for bridging health-care access gaps and addressing last-mile delivery challenges and infrastructural inadequacies. The pandemic has demonstrated the utility and suitability of drones for last-mile medical delivery. The usage of drones has become an urge during the COVID-19 hard times by the industries and government to deliver vaccines, emergency medicines, antivenom solutions, organ transplants, and other medical supplies, including civil, commercial, and social applications.[1] Drones are utilized for disease surveillance, tracking disease spread, providing life-saving automated external defibrillators to patients suffering from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, vaccines, and medical transportation. Telecommunication drones are used for diagnosis, evaluation, and telemonitoring.[2] With the speed and maneuverability, it is a viable tool to provide for health-care providers to boost their efficiency and ability to provide care for individuals, particularly those in difficult-to-reach locations.

Drones have the potential to reduce first-responder response times; whereas emergency medical services and ambulance systems frequently struggle to meet critical response times, drones may be able to get at the scene of an incident more quickly. The outbreak of the coronavirus has accelerated the use and acceptance of drones in health care all around the world. In India, on September 12, 2021, the “Medicines from the Sky” (MFTS) project was launched by the Telangana government in collaboration with the Ministry of Civil Aviation, under which drugs and vaccines were delivered using a medical drone called “Hepicopter,” it is the first of its kind initiative in Asia. The MFTS project would be ramped up in six other Indian states in the next 6–12 months.[3] The project aimed to explore the robustness and reliability of drones as a mode of delivery to improve medical supply chains, employing varied payload sizes and in regulated temperatures, from distribution centers to specific locations and back.[4] For the safety and reliable delivery of the multiple medical payloads at once to primary health centers and subcenters in rural, remote, and hard-to-reach areas, a custom-developed modular temperature-controlled box (patent pending) platform can be used which is paired with the heavy-payload, long-range drone called “Hepicopter,” which helps in improving access to vaccines, lab samples, and possibly on-demand medical products.

Medical delivery drones will be able to reach rural places where primary health-care professionals can acquire daily supplies at the click of a button in a matter of minutes, thanks to a mobile app. The delivery system has adopted the hub-and-spoke system. The team receives the information regarding the required inventory. After the standard preflight testing and checks of wind conditions, audio pilot systems, and GPS tracker, this is loaded at the central hub, and the drones take off. The locations are entered into the systems, and the vials are picked up at the drop-off location by the health examiner. The Hepicopter platform can support vaccination in distant places by securely transporting around 2000–5000 doses of vaccines over a straight-line distance of 20–40 km in one trip at 2°–8°. A pair of drones can make up to ten journeys per day to various health facilities, hauling 40,000–100,000 medicines and delivering them directly.[5] These artificial intelligence-assisted air vehicles appear to be the answer to human limits, speeding up and increasing logistic transportations, expediting processes, decreasing unpredictability, cost, and inaccuracy. Drones are cutting-edge technology that can transform health care.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Euchi J. Do drones have a realistic place in a pandemic fight for delivering medical supplies in healthcare systems problems? Chin J Aeronaut 2021;34:182-190.  Back to cited text no. 1
'Medicines from the sky' Takes Wing in Telangana, Scindia Says Will Scale Up Project Nationwide. India Today. Available from: https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/telangana-launches-medicines-from-the-sky-drone-scindia- project-nationwide-1851848-2021-09-12. [Last accessed on 2021 Sep 12].  Back to cited text no. 2
Mohammed S. Telangana Launches 'Medicine from the Sky' Project to Drone-Deliver Vaccines, Medicines to Remote Areas. The Hindu. Available from: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/telangana-launches -medicine-from-the-sky-project-to-drone-deliver-vaccines- medicines-to-remote-areas/article36401406.ece. [Last accessed on 2021 Sep 11].  Back to cited text no. 3
Rosser JC Jr., Vignesh V, Terwilliger BA, Parker BC. Surgical and medical applications of drones: A comprehensive review. JSLS 2018;22:e2018.00018.  Back to cited text no. 4
Today. T. Telangana Launches Ambitious 'Medicine from the Sky' Project. Telangana Today. Available from: https://telanganatoday.com/telangana-launches-ambitious-medicine-from-the-sky-project. [Last accessed 2021 Sep 11].  Back to cited text no. 5


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