Medical deliveries get airborne in Ontario

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by Emily Atkins

A project to move medical supplies by drone has lifted off in southern Ontario.

Starting November 7, 2022, Drone Delivery Canada’s Care By Air initiative, with Halton Healthcare Services Corporation  and DSV Air & Sea Inc. Canada is commercially operational.

The Care by Air project will see drones flying between DSV’s Milton DC to Halton Healthcare’s Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital. The cargo drones are transporting a variety of healthcare goods including medical isotopes for cancer care (supplied from McMaster University).

The program uses DDC’s Sparrow drone, its DroneSpot takeoff and landing zones and proprietary FLYTE software. The project is scheduled to operate for the next six months.

This transport of vital medical supplies by drone is the first of its kind in Canada that will deliver healthcare supplies directly to a hospital for on-site patient diagnosis, treatment or care. The innovation of drone delivery will support the provision of time critical goods, enabling the next horizon in healthcare delivery.

“At Halton Healthcare, we are committed to advancing how we deliver care, which includes finding new and efficient ways to use technology. Being at the forefront of an innovative delivery system with the Care by Air drone delivery project is the ideal way to contribute to the advancement of healthcare, while continuing to evolve along with the care needs of our patients, families and communities,” said Hilary Rodrigues, senior vice-president, corporate services, performance and chief financial officer, Halton Healthcare.

All operations will be conducted in accordance with appropriate Canadian regulations. Flights will be remotely monitored by DDC from its Operations Control Centre located in Vaughan, Ontario.

“This partnership with Halton Healthcare and DSV is highly innovative and groundbreaking. The pilot project is just the first step of the overall vision of connecting all hospitals within the Halton Healthcare umbrella. We are very proud to commence the operations and look forward to supporting other hospitals in Ontario as well as in Canada for that matter. Our proprietary drone logistics platform is a perfect fit for delivering high-value and high-risk cargo, as is typical in the healthcare market.,” said Steve Magirias, CEO of Drone Delivery Canada.