Prescription delivery via drone is coming to more cities

Zipline, the drone delivery and logistics company, announced this week its new partnership with Mayo Clinic’s hospital-at-home program that’s designed to deliver medications and other home-based care needs.

Texas-based Memorial Hermann Health System will also work with the autonomous delivery and logistics company to integrate drone-based transport for specialty prescriptions and medical supplies directly to patient homes in the Houston area beginning in 2026, the health system said.


Drone delivery of prescriptions may help hasten the goals of healthcare systems and providers that seek to meet patients where they are.

While 65% of patients who need transportation assistance to improve their medication use may benefit from drone prescription delivery options, it could also help streamline healthcare for all patients, according to Zipline.

If someone is diagnosed with an infection during a telehealth appointment, for example, their doctor could send an antibiotic prescription to a pharmacist who quickly loads it into one of Zipline’s drones, called Zips, and spare them going out to a brick-and-mortar pharmacy when they’re sick and contagious, the company explained in a statement posted this week.

Zipline also said it will integrate its soon-to-launch drone platform, called Platform 2, into Mayo Clinic’s campuses in Jacksonville, Florida, and Rochester, Minnesota, to serve patients enrolled in Advanced Care at Home program. 

It plans to launch the service in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area with Walmart and other partners and said that in the next few years it expects to reach some 30 million patients in 11 states.

Drones will help patients access medications quickly and conveniently, “at no added cost to them,” Alec King, executive vice president and chief financial officer for Memorial Hermann Health System, said in an announcement about Houston’s coming first healthcare-provider home-delivery service.

Zipline said the drones can deliver medications to patients in the rain, wind, extreme cold and other conditions while patients track the zero-emissions transport devices headed to their homes. 

Over time, Memorial Hermann may also use Zipline drones to transport medicine, supplies and lab samples between its facilities, the health system said.


Retailers and others have been using drones for home delivery, but the COVID-19 pandemic drove a need for telehealthcare delivery drones.

“A big advantage of drones is their ability to navigate using satellite or even cellular communications,” said Manish Kumar, director of the Cooperative Distributed Systems Laboratory and codirector of the UAV MASTER Lab at the University of Cincinnati, when UC announced it had invented a telehealth drone prototype to dispatch medicine to patient homes in 2021.

The following year, Intermountain Healthcare announced that to advance digital health and reach patients faster, Utah’s Salt Lake Valley area patients received drone deliveries of prescriptions and medical products, including over-the-counter medications.


“As a system, we are continuously seeking ways to improve the patient experience and bring greater health and value to the communities we serve,” King said in a statement last month.

“Innovators like Memorial Hermann are leading the way to bring better care to the U.S., and it’s going to happen much faster than you might expect,” Keller Rinaudo Cliffton, Zipline’s cofounder and CEO added.

Andrea Fox is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Email: [email protected]

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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