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Michigan Medicine to use drones to deliver medicine to your doorstep

Michigan Medicine to use drones to deliver medicine to your doorstep
Michigan Medicine to use drones to deliver medicine to your doorstep 01:59

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - Medicine delivered straight to your doorstep? Starting next year, that will be possible.

Each year, the University of Michigan's Michigan Medicine delivers close to 125,000 prescriptions to patients. Soon, it will add one more method of delivery … drones.

Drones Michigan Medicine will use that will deliver prescriptions to patient's doorsteps. Zipline

"They'll be delivering patients' prescriptions from our pharmacy facility to patients in their homes," said Dana Habers, Chief Innovation Officer at U of M Health/Chief Operating Officer for Pharmacy Services.

Through a partnership with "Zipline," the company behind the drones, Habers says this technology will be better for the environment.

"Our ability to deliver by drone reduces our carbon emissions on each delivery by about 97% compared to a truck delivery which is our primary mode today," Habers says.

Second and most important, it will be quicker and more convenient for patients to get their medicine.


"It's a 15-minute delivery window. Right now, our truck deliveries are packaged and sent within 48 hours. It allows new patients who are starting new treatments or therapies to get that drug in hand almost the minute they get home from their clinic visit," said Habers.

The drones will deliver across a 10-mile radius from Michigan Medicine's Dexter facility and will silently hover 300-feet above the ground. 

"There's a droid that comes down with the package. The drug will be in that droid on a tether that precisely delivers to their doorstep or balcony or other place of choice from the patient," said Habers.

Habers says the drones are also designed to handle Michigan weather. If all goes well with the launch, she says the company hopes to expand.


"It's a work in progress so we'll see how it goes. We're really excited about the opportunity and excited to do really cool things for our patients," Habers said. 

Michigan Medicine plans to get these drones up and running in 2024. In the meantime, the drones are going through some testing to make sure they work safely and effectively for delivery.

Officials say just like when you see your doctor and are asked whether you prefer a text message or phone call, the drone delivery service will be one of those options for patients. 

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