Drones, also referred to as UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), have fascinated retailers around the world, who aim to use the technology for delivering packages at record speeds. However, these fast flying machines aren’t solely for delivering packages and goods, they present an exciting array of potential applications in the medical world as well.
Medical drones are considered as the future of disaster relief, since they can easily travel to isolated areas carrying life-saving supplies. They have allowed healthcare professionals and blood bank operators to save lives and improve their medical services as well.
How do drones and medicine work?
Drones are small rotary winged aircraft, which can be programmed to fly routes or controlled remotely. They contain GPS sensors, are powered by lithium batteries and include brushless motors that prolong the life of the aircraft. Drones can also be configured to carry small packages, which include communication devices and cameras. They can fly uninterrupted for an hour and have a maximum range of 60 miles, which enables it to reach isolated areas quickly.
There are a lot of exciting possibilities when you combine medicine with drones. Medical drones have been used successfully in Haiti, after the 2010 earthquake, where they were used to deliver aid packages to help people.
Exploring the possibilities of medical drones
Time is incredibly important, especially when someone suffers a cardiac arrest, and medical professionals are searching for ways to deliver faster medical care. The ambulance drone is being designed to deliver advanced life support supplies that even the common man can use, which includes the Automated External Defibrillator.
After landing, drone operator can communicate with a video device and a two-way radio. The operator can then explain to individuals how to use the AED and other equipment, thereby saving precious time and save a life.
Another great option for medical drones is transporting blood products to hospitals that have run out of blood supply after a mass casualty or natural disaster. Drones offer a great solution as they can be used to deliver blood products to emergency services and help sustain the blood bank of the hospital.
Drones were initially tested in Haiti for disaster relief and recovery and met with tremendous success. They are becoming essential equipment in serious disasters delivering life-saving supplies, keeping individuals alive and healthy for extended time periods. They can carry an extensive range of products including medications, tourniquets, water, emergency rations, and other supplies.
Drones are also used in recovery and rescue missions, covering ground extensively and quickly, to help find those who are trapped in hard-to-reach places. Medical drones easily fly into remote areas with supplies tailored to the emergency on hand, like medication and equipment for stabilising broken bones, antivenin for snakebites, and essential supplies.
Growing Acceptance of Medical Drones
The medical community has widely accepted drones, and Doctors without Borders are already using them to transport TB test samples from remote villages in New Guinea. Drones have also been used with great success to deliver birth control and condoms to women in Ghana. Drones hold the potential to completely revolutionise medical care, and it is safe to assume the future of healthcare is bright.