Drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) have by far been one of the most looked up to and promising technologies emerging from the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Drones have exploded in a variety of industry sectors, primarily owing to loosening regulations and robust investment support. Responding to the rapidly evolving technology, companies are creating new business and operating models.
Also, with the recent trends induced by the pandemic, use of drone technology is mainly observed in sectors like rural healthcare and providing relief package for disaster recovery. With a high tech make over in these spaces, drones will help overcome a number of big challenges.
Interestingly, India is known to the world as the ‘pharmacy of the world’ YET in many remote and interior pockets of the country, people remain far flung from basic healthcare.
Primarily owing to topographical constraints and poor transport connectivity, proper healthcare access for many does not exist. Especially in the current times, the Covid-19 pandemic has raised a red flag.
Drones are an excellent way to modernise the last mile in medical deliveries and bridge gaps in access. Drones can provide just-in-time supplies of key medical items, regardless of location. Since some health systems are not geared to keep cold-chain products such as platelets or blood on-site, drones can ensure these supplies are available on demand. With technology, data stored and premises coverage, drones are expected to deliver accurate and efficient solutions.
The use of drones and faster adoption of technology is leading the way for quicker administration of medications. This will assist healthcare professionals to work more competently as supplies can be made available within limited time frame.
Furthermore orders can be placed via digital platforms and medical drones equipped with supplies tailored to the situation can be quickly deployed to save the lives of patients in critical conditions.
Drones can also come to the aid of healthcare workers while delivering human organs for transplant. While there may be plenty of donors to meet the requirements, what often becomes a barrier is that available organs often don’t reach desperate patients.
So, drones can be viable mode for transporting organs like kidneys, lungs, heart, etc., to donors before the window of opportunity runs out.
Also few cities are turning to this technology as a tool for disaster response. In many countries, Drones are deployed to help find people that are in need of assistance. They have also been used to create disaster maps and assess damage after events like hurricanes and earthquakes. Armed with technology such as infrared cameras, and AR technology, it can also be used to create heat maps that can help firefighters locate hotspots. These can also help locate people that need rescue and help with relief package deliveries where natural disasters strike.
Besides, drones ability to drive efficiency, it is also time saving and cost effective. This technology will surely disrupt the traditional methods of operation and infuse more efficiency to sectors such as healthcare and relief package deliveries.
Also with the government’s empowering policy on drone operation, it is only a matter of time before drones become mainstream and an integral part of healthcare delivery in India.
Drones will surely change the face of healthcare delivery in the near future. As in some cities, what seemed to be a distant dream has now turned into reality with delivery of vaccines and medicines made more accessible and faster with drones to the remotest corners of the country including the disaster-prone areas.
The author is Swapnik Jakkampundi, Co-founder Skye Air