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WellSpan Health will bring innovative medical drone delivery to Pennsylvania with global logistics leader Zipline

February 20, 2024

WellSpan will improve patients’ experience with faster, more convenient care powered by Zipline’s quiet, all-electric delivery system

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WellSpan Health will bring innovative medical drone delivery to Pennsylvania with global logistics leader Zipline WellSpan Health will bring innovative medical drone delivery to Pennsylvania with global logistics leader Zipline

WellSpan Health will take pharmacy delivery to the skies in the near future, partnering with Zipline, the world’s largest autonomous delivery service. WellSpan will use Zipline’s electric, autonomous drones to transport prescriptions directly to patients’ homes and move lab samples and medical products between its facilities. Zipline’s aircraft will make deliveries up to 7 times faster than current automotive delivery. WellSpan is the first health system to introduce this type of technology and delivery system at scale in Pennsylvania. This innovative effort will help WellSpan Health reach more patients faster and provide a better experience.

“WellSpan continues to reimagine what healthcare can look like for our patients. With Zipline, we’re creating a future for our patients where getting a prescription filled is as simple as pressing a button. We’re making our system lower cost, faster, and more sustainable by bringing this exceptional technology to South Central Pennsylvania,” said Roxanna Gapstur, Ph.D., R.N., president and CEO, WellSpan Health. “We know the easier it is to access care, the healthier people can be. With Zipline, we’re connecting healthcare straight to your front door.”

The partnership will use Zipline’s Platform 2 home delivery system, which is known for its fast, precise deliveries and quiet operations. The system’s all-electric autonomous drone (Zip) flies to its destination and hovers safely high up in the sky, while its autonomous delivery droid descends on a tether, steers to the correct location, and gently drops off its package to an area as small as a patio table or the front steps of a home. Patients can track their delivery down to the second. Zips are built with fully redundant flight critical systems and have robust, industry-leading safety and privacy features. Zipline flies in almost all weather conditions, from snowy winters to thunderstorms.

“Zipline has been improving access to healthcare for eight years. Together with WellSpan Health we will bring prescriptions and medical products right to patients’ doorsteps with fast, sustainable and convenient delivery,” said Keller Rinaudo Cliffton, Co-Founder and CEO of Zipline.

Patients who use Zipline today save hours, and in some cases days, compared to traditional deliveries of medical products. With real time tracking and convenient scheduling, patients know the minute their medication will arrive, so they no longer have to waste hours waiting.

Zipline has autonomously delivered millions of medical supplies since 2016 and operates on four continents. The company has flown more than 65 million commercial autonomous miles worldwide and completes a delivery every 70 seconds. Zipline is used in the U.S. by leading hospital systems including Cleveland Clinic, Intermountain Health, and Michigan Medicine, retailers like Walmart and restaurants like sweetgreen.

Zipline deliveries emit up to 97% less CO2 on average than a traditional automotive delivery and are a key part of WellSpan’s green initiatives and sustainability efforts, including its pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030.

Zipline’s onboard perception system was the first one approved by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to fly long distances beyond the visual line of sight; this approval will enable it to serve South Central Pennsylvania at scale. The company has flown the longest fully autonomous distance drone delivery flights in the U.S.

Over the coming years, WellSpan Health will integrate Zipline’s service within select facilities and will share more details about how patients can sign up to use the service when it becomes operational. To join Zipline’s waitlist visit FlyZipline.com/get-delivery. To learn more about WellSpan’s green initiatives and sustainability efforts as a whole, visit WellSpan.org/Sustainability.