Drones may soon be used to deliver medications to hard-to-reach aged care facilities across country Victoria.
A new partnership between La Trobe University, Northern Health and the Victorian Virtual Emergency Department will investigate the use of drones to distribute vital medication to people in remote aged care facilities.
Professor James Boyd, Chair of Digital Health and Innovation, said the groundbreaking initiative aims to make a significant difference in the lives of those who need it most.
“With the challenges of rural healthcare access and out-of-hours services, this project aims to bridge the gap, improve healthcare outcomes, and enhance the overall quality of life for elderly residents in these regions."
Professor Boyd said the study would examine the safety and reliability of drone delivery.
“Safety and reliability are key priorities. This project will employ cutting-edge technology, integrated with safety processes and protocols, to guarantee secure and accurate deliveries in challenging rural environments.”
“Safety measures may include equipping drones with real-time monitoring and control systems to ensure precise navigation and emergency response capabilities.”
“The project will also identify drones that meet the unique requirements of rural delivery, including long-range capabilities, payload capacity and robust weather resistance,” he explains.
Professor Boyd said the project will investigate the potential of drone delivery to reduce cost barriers of healthcare delivery in rural and regional areas.
“Anyone who lives in a rural area knows how difficult and costly it can be to obtain medication after hours. We hope to make out-of-hours medication distribution more efficient and cost-effective in the long run,” Professor Boyd says.
The researchers will also investigate route planning, navigation, and obstacle avoidance systems for the challenges posed by rural terrain and weather conditions.