BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Drones will be used to revolutionize health care in Louisiana. Acadian has partnered with drone manufacturer, BlueFlite and drone operator, Spright to help with emergency services.
Director of Acadian Health, Ben Swig, said this is just another example of how innovation can drive Acadian Health.
“Having been a paramedic and EMT for the past 20 years, I have been in a number of situations where I just couldn’t get there quick enough,” said Swig. “Knowing that a drone is flying and just getting there in front of us and we are hearing on the radio ‘drone on scene’ and shock provided by the bystander is a wonderful thing to be able to know that that’s happening.”
Swig said drones will provide faster response times during cardiac arrests, overdoses and allergic reactions. He said the drones can respond and get in the air in under 60 seconds.
“When the drone arrives on the scene, it will have a video that goes back to the drone operator and our dispatch. Our dispatch can instruct them that the drone is outside and to be prepared for the drone to drop the AED, Epi or Narcan,” said Swig.
The drones can also carry three different payloads or one large payload. In addition, Acadian can partner with local pharmacies and deliver prescriptions to patients in the area. Acadian hopes the drones will benefit rural communities.
“Multiple studies done in the United States and Europe where drones have been able to reduce response times by over 9 minutes in rural areas compared to an ambulance,” said Swig.
Acadian believes it will cost about $100,000 a year to operate drones in communities. A city, individual, corporation or entity would be responsible for the bill. However, Swig said grants are available.
Swig said Acadian is currently pitching the drones to stakeholders and hopes to see the drones in a Louisiana community in the near future.