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Deloitte, Rady Explore Delivery of Medical Samples by Drone

The effort needs both funding and extensive testing before the technology is rolled out for everyday use

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Deloitte and the Rady Children’s Institute of Genomics are exploring how to deliver medical samples to the laboratory by drone. The effort is currently in the planning stages, the partners announced on Jan. 21.

The two parties envision fast delivery by air, avoiding the traffic delays encountered with ground delivery.

The effort needs both funding and extensive testing before the technology is rolled out for everyday use.

The partners will work with the Federal Aviation Administration for guidance on how to pass through San Diego’s airspace safely. San Diego has become a testing ground for integrating unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in domestic airspace.

“Through our work with RCIGM, we’ve seen firsthand their intense passion for helping children with rare disease, and their dedication to discovering advancements to improve patient care,” said Josh Nelson, principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP, who leads Deloitte’s work with the Rady Children’s Institute.

“This UAS project is an innovation to speed transport and delivery of samples to their lab. Together with RCIGM, we plan to go from strategy to testing to operational and develop a blueprint for other health care organizations to use.”

RCIGM has pioneered the use of rapid whole genome sequencing to diagnose newborns and children with life-threatening rare genetic disease.

“We are excited about the potential this innovative technology offers to improve healthcare outcomes for critically sick babies,” said Stephen Kingsmore, president and CEO of the Rady Children’s Institute. “By rapidly decoding a child’s DNA, we can provide medical teams with vital information to guide personalized patient care. When minutes matter, we can’t afford to have a sample delayed in transit.”

Deloitte is working on adapting the technology to other scenarios. For example, it could be rolled out to deliver medical samples from rural areas to more sophisticated medical facilities in cities.

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