Aster tests drone facility to deliver diagnostic samples and medicines in Bangalore

Posted on : May 17, 2022


Bangalore, 17th May 2022: Aster DM Healthcare, India’s leading private healthcare service providers, has signed a partnership alliance with Skye Air Mobility, a leading drone-technology-based logistics firm for transforming healthcare delivery landscape in India. Both the companies signed the partnership agreement in the presence of Mr. Ankit Kumar, CEO, Skye Air Mobility, Dr. Prashanth N, Chief Operating Officer, Aster RV Hospital and Mr. Ramesh Kumar, Chief Executive Officer, Aster CMI Hospital.

According to the agreement, Aster DM Healthcare will leverage Skye’s drone technology for delivery of diagnostic samples and medicines. The trial run was successfully kicked off with the 7-days BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) carrying the medicines and diagnostic samples. The trial runs began on May 14th and are expected to continue until May 20th from Aster RV Hospital (JP Nagar) to Aster Clinics located within Bengaluru city. 

This is one of the early live use cases of drone technology in Indian healthcare. Skye Air’s flagship product 'Skye Ship One' is being used for these trials. With a vision to transform India’s healthcare delivery landscape, Aster DM healthcare decided to use innovative solution to address the current challenges in healthcare delivery system. The trials jointly undertaken by Aster DM Healthcare and Skye Air will showcase the efficiency of drone technology to facilitate faster deliveries of medical and diagnostic samples. This partnership is expected to overcome the logistical barriers while reducing the turn-around-time. Following the successful completion of the 7day BVLOS trials, Skye Air targets to undertake approximately 80 flights, each carrying blood samples and medicines for Aster Clinics. 

The drone-led delivery system is executed through a designated Skye Air cold chain professional to first load the medicine and diagnostic sample in a temperature-controlled payload box. This payload box is then loaded in the drone which is then directed by drone pilots at the command centre through a predetermined route to a fixed landing pad.

Commenting on the initiative Mr. Veneeth Purushotaman, Group Chief Information Officer, Aster DM Healthcare said "This collaboration is an onset to a complete digitization of healthcare in India. In Aster, we have been at the forefront of adopting digitization, technology and innovation into our core operations which is now essential to support patients as per their needs. This paradigm shift from the traditional workflow of the healthcare system to a digitized healthcare will streamline all our operations and ensure an efficient delivery system. We are thrilled to partner with Skye Air as we pave the way to successfully adopting cutting edge digital technology and innovative solutions to efficiently assist our core operations.  With rapid digitalization of healthcare delivery systems, we will continue to invest more on improving our health equity in India and world over"

Commenting on the success of the BVLOS trial runs so far, Mr. Ankit Kumar, CEO, Skye Air Mobility said, "These trials aim to demonstrate a faster supply chain for sample collection by effectively using drone delivery technology. The technology illustrates the cost effectiveness and reduction in delivery time. Therefore, it acts as a case model on how the unmanned aerial systems could help Aster hospitals better serve its patient’s needs and provide opportunities for network improvements that generate efficiencies thereby enabling it to grow its business. These trial runs will result in commercial rollouts in different locations for the healthcare service provider across India."

Dr. Prashanth N, Chief Operating Officer, Aster RV Hospital, said "Being a new hospital in South Bangalore, Aster RV has always evaluated new technology in delivering care to patients. Whether it be Visitor management system, Digital material gate pass system, online Ambulance movement tracking system or for that matter Remote monitoring of Critical ICU patients by partnering with respective technology providers, resulting in improved efficiency and overall administrative & clinical control. With the use of process automation, doctors and healthcare providers will now be able to deliver more efficient services in the fastest possible time, which can aid the treatment journey. Aster has always been in the forefront of adopting innovative methods to keep its pace in our technology driven world. This collaboration will certainly be a nudge to open doors for further advancement of the healthcare system automation tools and reduce dependency on dedicated manpower"

Mr. Ramesh Kumar, Chief Executive Officer, Aster CMI Hospital said "This collaboration is certainly going to improve customer satisfaction and make it cost-efficient. Our constant focus is on high quality experience for our patients and customers to develop long - term relationships with them. There will be an aligned workforce to handle customer requirements and queries. The patients will have access to details on the delivery process to make it more transparent and will be ensured with accurate high-quality communication to create better patient loyalty. The integration of AI in healthcare is going to enhance the existing services and will make the entire process of delivery efficient."

Skye Air Mobility, a Drone Delivery logistics firm based in New Delhi is changing the face of logistics as it continues to achieve its key milestones cutting across diverse sectors such as healthcare, diagnostics, ecommerce, quick-commerce and Agri-commodity delivery. These trials by Skye Air & Aster DM Healthcare runs will result in commercial rollouts in different locations for the healthcare service provider across India.