Transforming healthcare delivery in remote and regional Australia

The design and delivery of quality healthcare services is a universally complex and challenging task.  In rural and remote Australia, this complexity is magnified by the unique characteristics of the geographic and demographic Australian landscape. These obstacles necessitate the development and application of innovative methods that ensure more equitable access to and quality of healthcare services around the country, without large-scale transportation costs. Swoop Aero is transforming the way Australia, and more broadly, the world is moving essential supplies. 

Australia comprises a land area of approximately 7,692 million square kilometres. The ‘very remote’ category of land covers over 5.5 million km2 (72.5%) of Australia). According to the Australian Health Ministry Council, approximately 11% of Australia’s population resides within this geographical classification. 

These are huge distances to cover. Current methods of delivering healthcare services across these regions rely on conventional aircraft fleets and on-the-ground vehicle delivery services that require high-cost asset purchases and a lot of time from an expensive labour force. These methods are unsustainable for three core reasons:

  • The use of on-ground vehicles and aircraft burn fossil fuels and are environmentally unfriendly
  • These transport methods take a long time to reach their destinations and are expensive
  • There are additional costs associated with storage costs for the supplies when using these slow transport methods

Transportation emissions currently rank as the second largest source of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. Organisations such as the Royal Flying Doctors deploy huge aircraft and on-the-ground vehicles to reach remote and regional communities throughout Australia. To date, the use of these aircraft has equated to 34 trips to the moon and back, which represents a significant cost for the Australian environment. Moreover, these forms of transportation take hours to reach their destinations and require plenty of warning in order to prepare individuals and supplies for the journey. There are costs of warehouse storage and housing costs associated with these methods of transport, to ensure the supplies are not spoiled in the process. Hiring the staff required to man these vehicles represents a further capital expenditure cost within the supply chain.

Swoop Aero’s solution enables on-demand healthcare for remote and regional communities in Australia with a more sustainable method: aeromedical logistics. This is achieved by deploying safe, reliable and cost-effective drone networks. Drones reduce the distribution costs associated with healthcare and medical deliveries, including halving wage bills and asset purchase costs, as well as maintenance costs associated with larger vehicles. All of Swoop Aero’s aircraft are fully electric, in line with the company’s dedication to both economic and environmental sustainability. The deployment of drones to deliver medical supplies within the health supply chain in Australia yields significant benefits that can optimize the efficiency of the sector, based around the following focal points:

  • “Just in time” logistics means warehouses can be consolidated
  • Human capital requirements for inventory management at warehouses falls
  • Centralised distribution centres are more efficient, for better customer service

The need for large and multiple storage facilities is reduced due to the speed and scale of the drone networks’ reach. A further saving is in the provision of an on-demand service, allowing for “just in time” logistics. The new delivery system meets the exact specifications of the patient and health facility. Conventional methods had previously transported bulk supplies that were not tailored to the individual facility to be stored until they were needed, resulting in huge waste of unused, or unwanted, healthcare supplies. The consolidation of resources through a central distribution base ensures human and capital resources are operating at their maximum potential efficiency, with all resources streamlined according to demand patterns. Furthermore, the money saved in this transition to Swoop Aero’s aeromedical logistics system can be redistributed to improving other areas of the healthcare sector, further helping to create a virtuous cycle of better patient outcomes and access.

The use of safe, reliable and sustainable aeromedical logistics networks deployed by Swoop Aero have the capacity to transform the healthcare network in regional and remote Australia.  Together we can ensure the healthcare sector moves towards its optimal level of efficiency, to deliver better patient outcomes more equally across Australia.

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