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Innovation & Research

How the Matador Consortium is Building Drone Highways to Strengthen Communities and Improve Rural Healthcare Access

September 18, 2023

LifeGift’s Fort Worth office recently hosted an open house discussion focusing on how the Matador Consortium led by Ty Harmon from 2THEEDGE, LLC is utilizing uncrewed aerial system (UAS) technology to improve healthcare access. Hospital transplant team members and community leaders gathered to hear how the use of drones could help to transport organs and biological materials from hospitals in rural areas to transplant programs and testing labs with the goal of increasing logistics efficiency.

On display were two of the drones from Swoop Aero. The first aircraft was the 3rd generation Kookaburra aircraft supporting Rural Healthcare Mission in Africa since 2020. The second aircraft was the new 4 Generation aircraft replacing the Kookaburra with increased capabilities. More than 26,000,000 Africans have benefited from health drone services since 2016. LifeGift and the Matador Consortium are seeking to leverage lessons learned to support the 60+ million Americans living in rural communities across Texas and the United States.

LifeGift is proud to partner with LifeShare in Oklahoma City, Okla., Texas Organ Sharing Alliance (TOSA) in San Antonio, Texas and Southwest Transplant Alliance (STA) in Dallas, Texas with the Matador Consortium, co-developed by Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) and 2THEDGE, LLC. This group recently conducted a series of tests using uncrewed aerial transport to evaluate the ability to successfully move organs between Lubbock, Oklahoma City and San Antonio and back to Lubbock. “The use of uncrewed aerial system transportation of organs and associated tissues is a critically important mode of transportation to facilitate faster and more reliable movement of organs for transplant, especially in rural areas such as West Texas and neighboring areas,” LifeGift president and chief executive officer Kevin Myer said. “Our partnership with LifeShare, TOSA, STA and the Matador UAS Consortium aligns with our focus on innovation to drive performance improvement across donation and organ transplantation to more effectively serve patients and save more lives.”