Pathology deliveries use automated drone technology to facilitate direct delivery of pathology samples from local medical or pathology centres to hospitals and testing laboratories.
Electric vans currently offer the most cost-efficient mode of delivery for pathology tests from pathology clinics to hospitals and testing centres. As with parcel deliveries, electric van deliveries are subject to large upfront capital costs relative to drones and comparatively higher operating costs.
It is estimated that for every two couriers, only one drone operator is needed, providing potential for significant labour cost savings (Valdani Vicari and Associati, 2020). Pathology drone deliveries were also found to provide a cost saving of $4.50 per delivery, with delivery times as low as 15 minutes per delivery, compared with 42 minutes per delivery for an electric van.
The uptake of drone technology in Australia has the potential to drastically improve access to health services, including pathology, particularly in regional and remote Australia.