A first step in the use our medical drones is likely to be deliveries between hospitals. The treatment of patients often requires the transfer of test samples or the delivery of medical supplies that may not be in stock everywhere. Such transfers could also take place between small regional hospitals with limited supplies and large health centers. The rapid transfer of samples to labs that are equipped to perform the required tests and the return of corresponding medication could save lives.
Drone transfers between hospitals are comparatively simple because the takeoff and landing sites are known and the route can be programmed. Drones would take off from a hospital roof or parking lot and use GPS to fly a pre-determined route. The landing site can be equipped to make sure the drone can come in safely and accurately. Time saved in a trip across a city with heavy traffic or from downtown to a remote regional health facility can be substantial and the cost would be low.
The next step would be to enable medical drones to fly to a specific but previously unknown location to deliver required supplies. Typical applications could be to aid accident or disaster victims of all kinds. Technicians at the take-off site would enter GPS coordinates and the medical drone would find its way to the target site. Initially drones could drop the supplies in padded packages or with small parachutes but, as they become more sophisticated, the drones could identify potential landing sites near the accident and land autonomously. Drone could be one of the most effective logistical tools to distribute blood supply or related products to save lives affected by natural disasters or terrorist attacks.
Such deliveries would be especially useful in remote areas or places where ground access is limited, such as on islands, ships, or disaster sites. While first responders would attempt to make their way to the sites and take over patient care, emergency packages could help keep patients alive in the interval. Time-sensitive conditions such as heart attacks, shock and poisoning often require immediate attention and medical drones could bridge the gap between the medical emergency and when traditional medical help arrives.