Photo courtesy Walmart
Tuesday morning, Officials with Walmart, Quest Diagnostics, and DroneUp announced a pilot program to provide drone delivery of COVID-19 at-home self-collection kits to single-family homes in the El Paso-area.
“Walmart has been serving the El Paso community throughout the pandemic with drive-thru testing sites and extended testing hours, and we wanted to provide another way to access testing that provides convenience and leverages technology while learning how drones could impact the delivery of healthcare in the future,” said Amanda Jenkins, Vice President of Operation Support and Implementation, Walmart U.S. Health and Wellness
“We are grateful to our Quest and DroneUp partners, and our pharmacists and associates, for their support in launching the pilot as we continue to work together during the pandemic.”
Drone deliveries will launch from the El Paso Walmart Supercenter, located at 1850 North Zaragoza Road, to single-family homes within 1.5 miles of the store or as environmental conditions allow.
“Quest Diagnostics is proud to partner with Walmart and DroneUp on this innovative pilot program to examine how drones could deliver health care to patients who are unable to leave their home, or live in remote locations,” said Dan Haemmerle, General Manager of Extended Care at Quest Diagnostics. “We will take the learnings from this pilot and enhance the ways we deliver health care services to the patients we serve.”
Officials say that lessons learned from this pilot program will help determine what roles drones can play in pandemic response, health care delivery and retail.
“Collaborating to deliver self-collection kits offers further investment into solutions that will advance safe and effective drone delivery,” said Tom Walker, Founder & CEO of DroneUp. “We are honored to partner with Walmart and Quest to pioneer these deliveries and equally as proud to serve our communities.”
The drone delivery pilot will be available while supplies last Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., weather and visibility permitting.
Once delivered, patients will perform a self-administered nasal swab in the privacy of their home. Patients will ship the sample to a Quest Diagnostics lab using a provided pre-paid shipping envelope for processing at the lab and will receive their COVID-19 test results through the secure Quest Diagnostics MyQuest online portal or app.
To be eligible for drone delivery, patients must live within the 1.5-mile radius of the El Paso Walmart store and request a drone delivery appointment through www.GetDroneTest.com. There is no delivery cost for patients who qualify to receive an at-home self-collection kit through this pilot program.
Patients must also meet CDC and state and local guidelines for testing and must be 18 years of age or older. Patients can also visit www.GetDroneTest.com for more information and to determine if they are eligible.
The kit includes a device for anterior nares (nasal) swab collection, which is the same kit Quest recently made available through its QuestDirect Active Infection Test. The specimen is then forwarded to a Quest Diagnostics laboratory for testing.
Test results are available in an easy-to-read report on MyQuest, the company’s secure patient portal accessible on a smartphone, tablet, or desktop.
Pharmacy window drive-thru testing at seven Walmart Neighborhood Markets in El Paso is available for those who are not in the drone delivery area, or do not meet the requirements, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:45 a.m. to 8:45 a.m., and special extended hours Sunday evenings until Thanksgiving.
To be screened for eligibility and to schedule an appointment, visit www.MyQuestCOVIDTest.com.
Testing is not available inside any Walmart store or in any Quest Diagnostics Patient Service Center. There is no out-of-pocket cost for the testing.