Michigan Medicine to start delivering prescriptions by drone to patients in Washtenaw County

Posted at 1:31 PM, Mar 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-15 13:39:14-04

(WXYZ) — Need your prescription filled and delivered to your door? Well, it could soon come by drone.

Michigan Medicine announced today that they will start working with the Zipline home delivery service next year to deliver prescriptions to hundreds of thousands of patients in Washtenaw County via drone.

According to a press release from Michigan Medicine, the autonomous, electric drones can make fast, quiet and precise deliveries in a variety of areas. They will reportedly be one of the first organizations to use Zipline’s latest platform, which they say sounds like wind rustling leaves.

They note the drones can deliver up to 7 times as fast as traditional delivery methods. Zipline touts a "robust safety system for each flight."

Michigan Medicine said it hopes to more than double the number of prescriptions it fills each year.

“By deploying Zipline we are able to make deliveries faster than ever before, saving time for both patients and our medical workers, enabling faster, affordable, pharmacy care that leads to better patient outcomes,” said Marschall S. Runge, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of Michigan Medicine, dean of the U-M Medical School and executive vice president of medical affairs for the University of Michigan, in a press release. "We are always looking for innovative, sustainable improvements to serve our patients. We’re thrilled to soon provide the next frontier of care to our patients with Zipline.” 

The Zipline drones home base will be at Michigan Medicine’s speciality care pharmacy in Dexter, which is expected to open later in 2023.

“Together with Michigan Medicine we are improving the healthcare experience by bringing prescriptions and medical needs right to patients’ doorsteps. With Zipline, getting prescriptions will be faster, more convenient and more sustainable than ever before,” said Keller Rinaudo Cliffton, CEO and co-founder of Zipline, in a press release. 

Patients will reportedly be given an option to receive their prescriptions via drone. There's also a tracking system that will let them follow their delivery in real-time.