Typically, defined as pilotless aircraft, drones were expected to be used solely for military purposes at the time of their invention (late 1880s – early 1900s). However, as the invention gained popularity in other areas, it became a common tool for delivering a range of supplies in the fields of science, public safety and commerce (Kim et al. 2017; Wang et al., 2014).
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Drones are an especially important innovation in the realm of healthcare, where it can be utilized to improve the quality and efficacy of healthcare services delivered to target patients (Balasingam 2017; Matthews 2015). Particularly, one can utilize drones as the tool for assessing the probability of a disaster and the magnitude of its effects (Bhatt, Pourmand & Sikka 2018). In addition, the proposed technology can be applied to the scenarios in which medications and other essential supplies such as blood, vaccines, and packages have to be delivered to remote areas (Lippi & Mattiuzzi 2016; Washington 2018).
Moreover, drones are essential for addressing the cases of cardiac arrests, in which patients have to be provided with immediate access to the defibrillation kit (Hossain et al. 2018). Therefore, it is critical to include drones in the realm of contemporary healthcare to ensure patient safety.
Apart from the cases involving immediate assistance, drones can also be utilized in the sphere of geriatric medicine. Specifically, by using drones to assist the elderly, one will be able to increase the mobility of the vulnerable group and reduce the exposure to the assonated risks (Zègre-Hemsey et al. 2018). It is expected that, in the future, drones will become an integral part of the emergency healthcare services due to the opportunity to reduce the time taken to deliver specific medical services and tools that they provide (Noi et al. 2017; Cao & Zhan 2018). The utility of drones in the healthcare setting has been explored extensively in numerous studies (Vockley 2017; Irizarry et al. 2014).
To explore the issue in depth, this paper renders the findings resulting from using seven search engines and 25 sources. Each of the studies can be defined as credible and academic, being published in a peer-reviewed journal and retrieved from a scholarly database such as CINAHL, Medline, Queensland library, and Google Scholar, to name just a few.
Out of 30 studies, 20 explore the situations associated with the management of health emergencies. The rest of the articles dwell upon the problem of delivering appropriate healthcare services to outpatients. The problem of cardiac arrest and the associated CVD is especially common in the discussion of the utility of drones in medicine (Thiels & Aho 2016). For instance, drones can be used to deliver defibrillation machines to the required location fast, as well as determine the location of patients that may have been lost or are difficult to reach (Baker & Manweiler 2015; Cao 2015). Moreover, the significance of using a wireless connection while managing the needs of the specified demographic has been stressed by Carrillo-Larco et al. (2018).
In the specified studies, drones are deemed as the tools with a much vaster range of advantages than any other device (Pulver, Wei & Mann 2016; Clark, Ford & Tabish 2018). For instance, when considering the use of drones for the purpose of delivering defibrillators to patients, the opportunity for reducing time significantly as the main factor in saving a patient’s life has been emphasized (Scott & Scott 2018). Based on the articles located with the help of six search engines, this report proves that drones have to be regarded as crucial tools in managing the needs of vulnerable groups (Park, Kim & Suh 2018).
UAVs have been proven to be especially important in managing the cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, managing the search for people that were lost during natural disasters, and delivering the required supplies in the instances that involved out-of-hospital health issues (Balenton & Chiappelli 2017). Therefore, it is critical to incorporate drones as the tool for supplying the necessary materials and supporting the use of wireless technologies into contemporary healthcare.
The fact that drones are likely to experience significant technological improvements is also worth mentioning as a critical issue defining their importance in enhancing the quality of care. Specifically, it is believed that the speed, mobility, and other technological characteristics of drones will increase soon with the inclusion of the latest technological advances into their design (Gippa et al. 2018).
As a result, a gradual rise in the quality and efficacy of the provided services is expected to occur. Moreover, due to the introduction of a cost-efficient approach into the technological upgrade of drones, the provision of the respective healthcare services is expected to become less expensive (Roser et al., 2018). Drones provide particularly important advantages in the scenarios involving the lack of opportunity to access a particular area where vulnerable groups are located (Szawarski & Hillebrandt 2017).
In addition, applying drones is critical to the situations in which time is of the essence (Om 2015). For instance, using drones should be seen as important in the rural settings where the infrastructure does not allow connecting to cities fast enough (Flahault et al. 2017).
Furthermore, drones can be utilized for other healthcare purposes. Among the key ones, one should mention gathering data for determining the threat of vector-borne diseases and the assessment of air pollution levels (Comes, Sandvik & Van de Walle 2018). Furthermore, one may need to consider drones for procuring the medications for dual antiplatelet therapy in the instances that involve heart complications and the possible threat of a myocardial infarction (Fasina 2016). As a result, the problem of health inequalities can be solved. Thus, people living in remote areas such as Kigali will benefit significantly.
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