To explore how drones can strengthen health efforts in Greenlandic healthcare, Falck is working closely together with Greenland Agency for Health and Prevention and Centre of Health Research and have completed the first health drone flights between Nuuk and Kapisillit in the region of Sermersooq.
The drones defy the arctic climate and fly medicine using satellite communications to advance health for citizens living in remote areas.
"We have had some good flights despite the challenging conditions. Even though the drones are built to fly in gusts of 23 m/s and in -20 °C, the arctic climate is a challenge especially when flying distances of up to 400 km. But the long distances without a road network is exactly why the drones have such good potential to support the Greenlandic healthcare systems, as they can help to reduce the long distances and transport critical medicine or blood samples,”
says Nicolai Laugesen, Head of Vertical and Falck’s drone activities.
These citizens must travel for several hours by boat when they want to visit the nearest hospital, and therefore there is an enormous potential for bringing these remote-living citizens closer to healthcare services.
The importance of faster diagnosis
Waiting time due to the long distances is both costly and can in some cases be crucial for a patient's course. Therefore, in the long term, the drone project is expected to contribute to a more efficient patient journey with the possibility of faster responses to examination results and thus faster initiation of treatment. Covid-19 showed the vulnerability of healthcare systems all over the world, and how crucial quick access to vaccines and equipment can be. In future outbreaks, the drone can be an important part of the solution to secure test equipment and vaccines to small villages and settlements in Greenland.
In contrast to Falck's previous health drone flights, the Greenlandic health drone flights are not only distinguished by the arctic climate and the long distances - also the connectivity is different and more challenging as there is no mobile network on the drone routes. The drones will therefore navigate using the satellite network between the cities and settlements.
As an active partner to healthcare systems, Falck is deeply committed to developing innovative solutions that advance sustainable healthcare and support a green transformation. Healthcare drones are one of several ways in which Falck works with sustainable healthcare.