ICMR’s new drone initiative to drive faster health outcomes in rural areas

New Delhi, April 10 (IANS) The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Wednesday announced a drone initiative in collaboration with Kasturba Gandhi Medical College, Manipal in Karnataka, to enable faster delivery of health outcomes in rural areas.

In a video posted on X.com, the apex research body described that the initiative will use drones to swiftly transport clinical samples from limited-resource hospitals in rural areas to tertiary hospitals with advanced diagnostic facilities.

It may help surgeons to make faster and more accurate critical medical decisions, especially when a sample is sent for investigation during a cancer surgery; and will also improve patient outcomes.

“Next milestone achieved in healthcare delivery via drone! Tissue sample transported mid-surgery from a peripheral hospital for advanced pathological testing at the tertiary setting for deciding if the resected tissue is cancerous or not,” ICMR said in a post.

The initiative, in partnership with TSAW Drones, a healthcare drone logistics start-up, will help reduce the risk of infection to patients, boost their convenience and compliance, and cut down the burden on tertiary care hospitals.

The ICMR had, in October last year, announced its tie-up with TSAW Drones for a study across three locations in Telangana, Karnataka, and Himachal Pradesh on transporting medical supplies by drones.

“Imagine a scenario where a patient walks into a secondary care hospital for a cancer procedure. The sample is swiftly sent to a testing facility using a drone and the surgeon receives diagnostic reports within 20 minutes. This will eliminate the need for repetitive surgeries and reduce infection risks for the patient,” the ICMR said.



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