Swiss hospitals will start using drones to exchange lab samples

Testbetrieb einer Paket-Drohne der Swiss Post am 28.3.2017 in Lugano. Die Drohne pendelt zwischen den Spitaelern Civico und Italiano. (POST/Alessandro Della Bella)

A pair of hospitals in the Swiss city of Lugano have been testing the use of drones to transport laboratory samples. Since mid-March, logistics company Swiss Post has operated more than 70 tests flights between the two hospitals, and announced today that it plans to establish a regular service by 2018.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen drones used to transport medical samples. (Silicon Valley firm Zipline uses fixed-wing craft to carry out this task in rural Rwanda.) But Swiss Post claims it’s the first ever commercial deployment of drones in an urban area. Operating drones in towns and cities is particularly challenging due to the risk of civilian injury, but Swiss Post says it has been working with the country’s aviation regulators, FOCA, since tests began earlier this year.

Delivering medical packages has turned out to be a perfect use case for drones. The samples are lightweight, so they don’t overburden the aircraft, and delivering them is often a time-sensitive matter, worth the extra expense of using drones. In the case of urban deliveries like Lugano, the craft also avoid getting snared in city traffic — adding to speedy delivery times.

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Image credit: Matternet

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About Peter Coffaro 1428 Articles
A growth-driven and strategic executive, Peter Coffaro commands more than 20 years of progressive management success within the medical device industry. As a District Sales Manager for Stryker Orthopaedics, Peter was responsible for managing and directing a regional sales force to achieve sales and profit goals within the Rocky Mountain region. Previously, he was the Director of Sales & Marketing for Amp Orthopedics. In this role, Peter was responsible for planning, developing, and leading all sales and marketing initiatives. Peter is a former orthopedic distributor in the Pacific Northwest. He has also worked with DePuy Orthopaedics as well as Zimmer, and held positions in sales, sales training, and sales management. Peter has an extensive background in organizational development, business development, sales management, negotiating and P&L management. Peter holds a B.S. degree in Biology from Northern Illinois University.

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