The Matternet M2 drone will be used by UPS Flight Forward (UPSFF) in a new hospital delivery network at Wake Forest Baptist Health in North Carolina. The new service will carry patient-specific time- and temperature-sensitive medicines and PPE for medical professionals treating COVID-19.
Matternet M2 drone used by UPS Flight Forward in new hospital delivery network
Today, Matternet, developer of the world’s leading urban drone logistics platform, announced its M2 drone system is enabling a new hospital delivery network at Wake Forest Baptist Health in North Carolina. In collaboration with UPS Flight Forward (UPSFF), the service will use a hub-and-spoke routing model to provide rapid delivery of time-and temperature-sensitive medicines and supplies, including PPE for medical professionals treating COVID-19 patients.
Matternet and UPSFF today started operating on two routes from one location at Wake Forest Baptist Health to two other health system locations, marking one of the first hub-and-spoke operating models for the U.S. drone delivery industry. One route will transport scheduled deliveries of specialty infusion medicines. These medicines are patient-specific, high-cost, and have a short shelf-life, making delivery by drone within minutes an ideal solution. The second route will transport on-demand supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as surgical masks for medical professionals in their fight against COVID-19.
“Increasing efficiency of our supply chain routes helps provide better service to our patients and their families,” said Conrad Emmerich, chief supply chain officer at Wake Forest Baptist Health. “Partnering with UPS Flight Forward through our iQ Healthtech Labs opens new doors for us to do just that through drone delivery.”
Matternet has been operating in the U.S. since August 2018. In partnership with UPSFF, the companies initiated the first ongoing revenue-generating drone delivery service at WakeMed’s flagship hospital and campus in Raleigh, N.C. in 2019. Since then, more than 2,200 deliveries (4,400 flights) of lab samples have been completed. The new service at Wake Forest Baptist Health, as well as WakeMed, are part of North Carolina Department of Transportation’s participation in the FAA’s Integration Pilot Program (IPP).
“Now more than ever it’s important for hospitals to have reliable, predictable and efficient methods for transporting critical medicines and time-sensitive lab samples that need results quickly,” said Andreas Raptopoulos, CEO of Matternet. “We are thrilled to expand our partnership with UPSFF to other U.S. hospitals and work with Wake Forest Baptist to implement our drone logistics network that will help transform their operations and patient care.”
Matternet’s technology is also enabling UPSFF to provide drone delivery service of prescription medicines for a retirement community in Florida. The service provides an option for seniors at higher risk for the Coronavirus infection to receive prescriptions without going to a store.
Earlier this year, Matternet unveiled its new Matternet Station, an intuitive user interface for sending and receiving medical payloads, and a safe and secure drone portal for hospital campuses. The Station gives hospitals and their supply partners the ability to integrate automated drone delivery into their laboratory and pharmacy operations. Hospitals can now move blood diagnostics, pathology specimens, and medicine between their facilities and suppliers with secure, extremely fast, and predictable aerial delivery.
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