Intermountain Healthcare Launches Drone Delivery Service in Utah

Intermountain Healthcare (IHC) is launching a drone-delivery service with Zipline to fly medical supplies and home care equipment to hundreds of patient’s homes each day in Utah. The goal is to deliver supplies to approximately 90 percent of patient homes in the Salt Lake Valley over the next few years.

Photos curtesy of Zipline

The service is planned to reach patients within a 50-mile radius of a new distribution center in Salt Lake County, with construction set to begin early next year. IHC anticipates using Zipline’s drones to parachute deliveries to patients’ homes with accuracy and precision.

Previous to this project, Zipline has successfully initiated drone delivery services in Ghana, Rwanda, and North Carolina among other places around the world.

“A number of factors are involved, including construction and [Federal Aviation Administration] approval, but we anticipate that we will be launching first deliveries in spring [of] 2022,” said Caroline Cammarano, a spokesperson from Zipline. The service will launch initially with deliveries of specialty drugs and equipment, with the expectation that a wider range of medications and products will be available for drone delivery over time.”

The Utah Division of Aeronautics has been working on advancing urban air mobility in the state, including through drone package delivery. While previous plans to bring this innovation to the state were halted due to issues related to the pandemic, the division worked with Zipline to introduce the concept to IHC and provided input on how the service could operate within the region’s existing infrastructure.

The next step in planning for a future aerial transportation system is to determine what adjustments will need to be made to welcome a second service provider.

Jared Esselman

“We are currently conducting a study to measure the effect this is going to have on the state,” said Jared Esselman, director of the Utah Division of Aeronautics. “With drones entering the scene, we will be able to reduce some truck traffic on our roads. Over time, this will improve air quality and mobility, and significantly enhance Utahns’ quality of life.”