Spright drones help Interpath Laboratory assess improved delivery speed of patient specimens for Pacific Northwest communities

Following successful pilot program, drone network to launch later in 2022

DENVER and PENDLETON, Ore., July 26, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Spright, the new drone division of Air Methods, and Interpath Laboratory, an independent full-service medical laboratory, have executed a master services agreement (MSA) under which Spright’s drones will be evaluated as an alternative process to transfer lab specimens from healthcare facility collection points to Interpath’s main medical lab in Pendleton.

The drone delivery network, which is a first of its kind, will begin operating once feasibility has been established later this year. Based on the results of the first successful pilot program launched last February, the drone delivery program is expected to greatly reduce turnaround time of diagnostic test results for clinics, improve patient satisfaction and enable healthcare providers to implement follow-up care in a timelier manner to produce better outcomes at lower cost.

The current process for laboratory services takes patient samples throughout the day, then batches them together for pickup by road vehicles in the evening for delivery to Interpath. These vehicles typically drive thousands of miles each day across the Pacific Northwest to pick up specimens from numerous clinics, hospitals and facilities.

In contrast, Spright’s drone delivery service will enable samples to be picked up and delivered to Interpath throughout the day, providing a green solution that reduces the number of gasoline-powered vehicles on roads and lessens local traffic.

This new approach will allow Interpath to maximize daytime sample processing abilities, leading to more efficient laboratory operations that will benefit patients and healthcare providers through faster delivery of vital test results.

Faster turnaround times for lab tests also can reduce healthcare costs. For example, patients who are tested at a hospital for a potentially life-threatening condition will likely be admitted for at least one night while clinicians await lab results under the traditional specimen delivery system. Should that wait time be reduced to a few hours, however, the patient may never have to be admitted. Given that the average cost of a three-day hospital stay is $30,000, faster test results can lead to a sharp reduction in cost of care.

“Communities in remote or rural areas too often lack timely and convenient access to essential medical supplies and service,” said Joe Resnik, president of Spright. “By enabling Interpath to receive and test samples far faster than it previously could, we’re helping address location-based health inequities and lack of access. We’re excited to be partnering with Interpath.”

Spright and Interpath will conduct testing and validation work for the drone delivery network through the summer, with a goal of having a drone “nest” and infrastructure in place at Interpath’s main lab by September. They also plan to co-present on the future of drone delivery in laboratory logistics management during the upcoming 2022 AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Expo, July 24-28 in Chicago, IL.

“Drone delivery of lab specimens provides increased access to care and better quality of care for the communities we serve,” said Tom Kennedy, president of Interpath. “Our pilot program with Spright showed the clinical, operational and environmental benefits of drone delivery. We look forward to the full rollout of the network later this year.”

About Spright

Spright is the drone division of Air Methods, created to help solve for many of the toughest challenges facing communities across North America. This innovative, drone-based solution is tasked with leveraging emerging aeronautical technology to create operational solutions that can be implemented locally. Based in Gilbert, Ariz., Spright as a stand-alone Part 135 Operator with a leadership team that touts more than 70 years of aviation operational experience.


About Interpath Laboratory

Interpath Laboratory is an independent full-service medical laboratory in the Pacific Northwest. Founded in 1967 the lab provides services to physicians, hospitals, government facilities and their patients. We employ approximately 1,000 people in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Our extensive history in the laboratory industry has given us confidence to know and understand what is important to our clients. We operate our laboratories with providers and patients best interests in mind and pride ourselves in developing a relationship of trust and confidence with each client and their staff. We incorporate the latest technology in instrumentation and have developed fully automated lines for the most efficient flow of specimens.


Contact Data