Health Report: Drones bringing the doctor to you

Health Reports

Some drones have the capability to deliver packages to someone’s front door. However, the technology has limitations, so it is mostly used outdoors.

Now, a team of scientists is working on a first-of-a-kind solution that would bring healthcare delivery closer than ever before.

You might have heard them buzz or seen them overhead, but imagine these robots on a special medical mission.

“We are building a telehealth drone that will have the ability to go inside people’s homes,” said Manish Kumar, PhD, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Cincinnati.

You read right…inside the home! It’s something that no one has been able to accomplish before.

“That’s very, very challenging from the technology point of view. Once you go inside people’s homes, you lose connection with the GPS,” Kumar said.

University of Cincinnati engineers are designing and testing special sensors that would allow the drones to maneuver through a front door, into a patient’s living room carrying a tablet or smartphone. Patients would connect with a doctor from a telehealth appointment. It would access a special medical kit attached to the drone so they can measure and transmit health information.

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“We’ll be able to get a read on their heart rate. We’ll be able to know what is their oxygen levels in their body.” said Debi Sampsel, DNP, Director of Telehealth at the UC College of Nursing.

“It’s going to let all the people stay at home for longer time, more independently.” Kumar said.

Landing a drone safely in your living room, these researchers hope it will be all science and not fiction.

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