The feasibility of drone delivery for emergency medical services is becoming a more realistic proposition for healthcare systems after a drone carrying a defibrillator saved its first heart attack patient in Sweden.

Doctors and researchers following the developments are hopeful the first successful case in Sweden will provide more momentum in the U.S.

“We have a very advanced EMS system in this country — 911 and sending ambulances to these kind of events and other kinds of trauma,” said Dr. Wayne Rosamond with the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina. “So, how can we integrate drone technology? Not to replace that, of course, but to supplement that.”

Rosamond is part of a team studying how drone AED deliveries could work. He says the U.S. has come a long way to make the life-saving technology a reality in the last few years. He says questions remain about how to implement the technology safely and whether the new systems are more efficient than the ones in place now.

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