Intermountain Healthcare and Zipline Start Drone Deliveries of Prescriptions, Medications, Supplies
New service will bring prescriptions and over-the-counter medications to select homes in as little as 15 minutes, and expand gradually over five years
Select patients of Intermountain Healthcare can now receive prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and other medical supplies through Zipline, the global leader in instant logistics and delivery. The partnership announced beginning deliveries directly to patients’ yards in the Salt Lake Valley area, and that interested customers can sign up to use the service and place orders.
Zipline’s Utah delivery system will expand gradually over five years and will eventually be capable of delivering directly to more than 1 million people. With this new partnership, the companies are making healthcare more accessible, convenient, and better for the environment.
Service will begin in the Salt Lake and Utah counties. Anyone interested in using Zipline should visit flyzipline.com/utah to sign up. Zipline will evaluate whether the companies can deliver to someone’s home based on several factors, including their yard size, location, and surrounding airspace, and will get in touch with eligible customers who are interested in using the Zipline system.
To start, the companies will service local communities within a few miles of the Zipline distribution center. Over time, they will gradually add new distribution centers, households, and community drop-off locations.
Intermountain Healthcare is the first health system west of the Mississippi River to use Zipline to bring prescriptions and over-the-counter medications to patients’ homes via Zipline’s on-demand logistics system, which includes fully electric, autonomous aircrafts.
This enables Intermountain to provide people-first care to its patients, in-person or virtually, and ensures patients can receive support in a convenient and accessible way, which is particularly impactful if they are less mobile, sick, or have work obligations that make it harder to visit a hospital or pharmacy to get medications.
“This partnership allows us to reach patients faster than we ever thought possible, at a time that’s convenient for them,” said Gordon Slade, associate vice president of supply chain logistics at Intermountain Healthcare. “Combined with our telehealth services like Connect Care, it’s possible to virtually see a doctor and get medication you need delivered from Zipline, without having to travel to a clinic or the hospital.”
Zipline’s on-demand logistics and delivery system features a fleet of small, fixed-wing, fully autonomous aircraft that operates quietly and releases packages with parachutes to a patient’s yard, in an area about the size of a couple parking spaces. Zipline’s aircrafts can fly up to a 50-mile radius in most weather conditions, including rain, wind, and extreme temperatures, and are known for minimal sound.
Each flight produces about 30 times less CO2 emissions per mile than an average electric vehicle and up to 98% less CO2 emissions than a combustion engine vehicle, according to company estimates. These environmental benefits are particularly important along Utah’s Wasatch Front, where air quality has been a major issue.
“Think back to the last time you had a doctor’s visit and then had to trek to the pharmacy for your prescription, making what can already be a time-consuming experience that much more draining, or the last time your child was ill and you had to pack the family in the car just to get cold medicine,” said Bijal Mehta, head of global fulfillment operations at Zipline. “Zipline and Intermountain Healthcare are working together to eliminate the burdens that make it harder to get the care you need when you need it. We believe instant delivery is a key element to the future of healthcare and we are excited to bring our service to the Salt Lake City area to make people’s lives better, easier, and healthier.”
Test flights in Utah began several weeks ago. This partnership will expand gradually over five years and eventually be capable of delivering to approximately 90% of patient homes in the Salt Lake Valley area. Over time, the companies will expand beyond the Salt Lake Valley area to serve other communities in Utah so that patients can access the care they need, regardless of where they live.
Zipline is the global instant logistics leader who transforms logistics and delivery systems so that they serve all people equally regardless of where they are. We design, manufacture and operate the world’s largest automated on-demand commercial delivery service, which among other systems uses autonomous, fully electric drones to complete deliveries. To date Zipline has made more than 400,000 commercial deliveries of more than 3.5 million items and flown more than 25 million autonomous miles. Globally, Zipline completes a delivery every two minutes, and each day the company flies more than twice the distance of the equator. By transitioning to clean, electric, instant logistics, we can decarbonize delivery, decrease road congestion, and reduce fossil fuel consumption and air pollution, while providing equitable access for billions of people and building a more resilient global supply chain. Zipline’s instant logistics system is the trusted partner by businesses, governments and consumers, and currently delivers blood, vaccines, COVID supplies, prescriptions, e-commerce items, food, and products that support human and animal health.
About Intermountain Healthcare
Headquartered in Utah with locations in eight states and additional operations across the western U.S., Intermountain Healthcare is a nonprofit system of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics, medical groups with some 3,900 employed physicians and advanced care providers, a health plans division called SelectHealth with more than one million members, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs.