Drones Bring the Doctor to You


Cincinnati, Ohio. (Ivanhoe Newswire)— Some drones have the capability to deliver packages to someone’s front door. But the technology has limitations, so it’s mostly used outdoors. Now a team of scientists is working on a first-of-a-kind solution that would bring healthcare delivery closer than ever before.

You might have heard them buzz or seen them overhead. But imagine these robots on a special medical mission.

“We are building a telehealth drone that will have the ability to go inside people’s homes,” stated Manish Kumar, Ph.D., Professor of Mechanical Engineering at University of Cincinnati.

(Read Full Interview)

You heard right, inside the home! Something that no one has been able to accomplish before.

“That’s very, very challenging from technology point of view, because once you go inside people’s homes, you lose connection with the GPS,” continued Kumar.

University of Cincinnati engineers are designing and testing special sensors that would allow the drones to maneuver through a front door, into a patient’s living room carrying a tablet or smart phone. Patients would connect with a doctor for a telehealth appointment … and access a special medical kit attached to the drone so they can measure and transmit health information.

“We’ll be able to get a read on their heart rate. We’ll be able to know what their oxygen level is in their body,” explained Debi Sampsel, DNP, Director Telehealth, UC College of Nursing.

“It’s going to let, uh, all the people stay at home for, for longer time, more independently,” said Kumar.

Landing a drone safely in your living room. These researchers hope it will be all science and not fiction.

Researchers say the prototype is ready and tested for use in people’s homes. It will be ideal for patients who live in rural areas miles or hours away. In the United States, one in four people do not have a primary care provider or easily accessible health center. The U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion says increasing access to routine care is critical for improving health.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive Producer and Field Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; and Roque Correa, Editor.

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REPORT:       MB #4989 

DRONES BACKGROUND: Drones offer benefits and challenges when it comes to delivery. Shoppers are worried about privacy when it comes to drones landing at their door; however, 39 percent of them say it won’t affect their purchases. Consumers are worried, however, about damages to their packages, theft, jobs being replaced by using drones to deliver packages, cluttered airspace and property damage.

(Source: https://clutch.co/logistics/resources/drone-delivery-statistics-benefits-challenges)

BENEFITS: According to UNICEF, there are “exceptional” benefits. Delivery of goods and medicines by drone reduces the risk of transmitting disease, limits physical contact, and is faster than previous methods. Some reports suggest that drones’ use of aerial spraying of disinfectants in public outdoor spaces have also helped to contain the spread of COVID-19. In addition, drones can take off and land vertically in small areas. This will require less space compared to helicopters and planes.

(Source: https://researchfdi.com/drone-delivery-market-covid-19/)

NEW TECHNOLOGY:   Drones have the potential to make an impact delivering medical supplies to areas hard hit by disaster, which happened in Haiti through a startup company called Matternet ( https://mttr.net) Drones could also provide care from a safe distance if a patient was highly contagious and could deliver medicine to the bedside of a patient from the pharmacy, eliminating human steps and interaction if needed. Also, for the elderly this could be useful because it could allow people to receive care at home for a longer period of time, which would extend their independence.

(Source: https://www.dronesinhealthcare.com/)




If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com

Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Manish Kumar, Ph.D., Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Read the entire Q&A