Posted on Jan 24, 2020, 1 p.m.
The Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine is working with Deloitte to develop a network of flying drones to deliver specimens to its laboratory for genetic analysis; the pilot program will deliver samples across the last segment of the journey after being flown into San Diego International Airport from the originating hospital.
Traffic can be stressful and time consuming, but this is especially true when it comes to transporting laboratory samples which are required to diagnoses sick children and infants in a timely manner. This drone project will help to speed things up and skip the gridlocked traffic.
Flying drones will carry the packages to RCIGM for about 5 miles over the city’s Mission Valley neighborhood as well as bipassing the I-5 and I-8 interstate highways to make the delivery to the laboratory that specializes in using whole genome sequencing to investigate and reveal rare diseases in critically ill newborn babes.
Before official launch they will be working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure that a route is mapped out that will mitigate any risks: “Don’t think of the flight path simplistically as flying the shortest straight-line distance from airport to hospital, but instead navigating an efficient path that takes into account terrain of the ground being flown over,” Mathew Rommel, of Deloitte U.S. Drone Services.
Currently this project is in preliminary stages of planning, but RCIGM and Deloitte hope to bring the idea through initial testing, to proof of concept, and into implementation which will eventually be used as a blueprint for other healthcare organizations and medical uses that may also be interested in a similar delivery system.
RCIGM and Deloitte will be coordinating with the FAA to plan and validate the safety of using drones for delivery which includes their ability to maintain the required temperatures and viability of the cargo while complying with federal regulations governing San Diego skies.
“This technology opens many possibilities for providing faster diagnosis for a variety of needs,” said RCIGM President and CEO Stephen Kingsmore. “Coupling rapid sequencing tests with rapid sample transport will speed the time to precise treatment and reduce the period of uncertainty, both for providers and the parents of our patients.”
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.