Drones and healthcare. A brain dump.

Here are my thoughts about drones in healthcare.

  • Most people are not really aware at how blindingly fast small drones are. Most demonstrations have them moving at a snails pace. They are incredibly quick and can cover large distances in the short time that they have battery life.
  • This makes drones ideal for the delivery of small light-weight packages. We can easily foresee a time when very small doses of medications are delivered each day by a drone. The notion that drug delivery could be “bursty” could have major impacts, specifically:
    • In the future, people will be able to call 911 and get an epi-pen to them anywhere in a major city in a matter of minutes. Much faster than an ambulance could arrive. People with serious allergies will have “panic buttons” on their cell phones that enable on-demand delivery of epinephrine via drone.
    • Daily delivery of meds will enable patients to adhere to a medication schedule much more cleanly… which will likely reveal the degree to which patients are actually making very different drug taking choices than what their providers think they are.
    • This could have both positive and negative impacts for patients who rely on opioids for pain control.
  • If we do start to deliver expensive medications via drone, then shooting them down will become a sport for criminals. This is a likely outcome for any drone-based delivery system. Of course, the cameras on drones should also make it very difficult to avoid being caught. Especially if large groups of drones team together. Imagine the behaviors of wasps or bees when “one” of their own is molested.
  • It is possible that groups of drones could be used instead of helicopters for airlifting patients. Its easier to show than describe. This might lead to “get outside so you can be gotten” being an important part of instructions for handling strokes and/or heart attacks. Perhaps doors will become smart enough to allow teams of drones in for airlift purposes.
  • Drones are surprisingly capable or cooperating to accomplish complex goals. So the notion of multiple drones working together to airlift an unconscious person from inside a house all the way to an either emergency care, or another (fully charged) group of emergency lift drones is not unreasonable.
  • We can imagine a feature of future luxury homes being having locally available series of “emergency airlift drones” that are capable of detecting the need for help, or responding to shouts etc etc. This could lead to another layer of healthcare dispartities.
  • This disparity might be easier to resolve by having apartment complexes have “shared” emergency drone pods, that can respond to emergencies in the local area.
  • Drones can swim and fly.  I expect that this will become a part of swimming pools, with one drone capable of rescuing a drowning person, and handing them over to drones capable of doing further airlift. Drowning is a major source of childhood deaths, and I expect that in the same way that “rails” are advocated for swimming pools today, tomorrow AI drown detection and drowned person retrieval will become standard for pools, lakes and rivers.
  • In the interim, drones will be used to detect local health hazards. For instance, you can use a drone fly-over to detect swimming pools that do not have rails (an ironic tie in) but you can also use them to search for mosquito breeding sources, like the massive puddles that currently form outside my apartment (sore subject, I did say it was a brain dump).
  • Drones will become a source of hyper accurate environmental data. Have questions about local air quality? That issue will soon be sampled at a rate hundreds of times more accurately than currently known. This will lead to the ability for public health issues to become local enforcement issues. This could become accurate enough to sort out when a heavy smoker is impacting a local school yard or park. Of course, one might expect that witch-hunts around drone data might become common.
  • For instance, stalking and private hyper-tracking of individuals will become a problem. Now rather than sitting outside a woman’s home, a disgruntled X-boyfriend can just program a drone to track her every move. Or, plic might choose to constantly monitor the movements of convicted sex predators. “Observation rights” are about to be a thing. And observation and scrutiny are known to have mental health implications.
  • The ability to deliver medications via drone will not be limited to legitimate sources. In fact illegal drug delivery is already happening, because drug dealers do not give a shit about FAA regulations the way that Amazon does.
  • In general automated deliver of every kind, groceries etc etc, will give people less reason to leave the house. This will reduce walking and make hyper-sedentary behaviors easier. Given the coorelation between the health of urbanites who are currently forced to walk and suburbanites who drive everywhere, this could create a third even more sedentary population. That is going to be expensive.

Thats all for now, I expect I will add to this…