In addition to packages, the United Parcel Service (UPS) (NYSE: UPS) will soon deliver home-based health care.
The world’s largest package delivery firm plans to test a dispatch service in which it will send home health nurses to provide in-home vaccines to U.S.-based adults, UPS representatives confirmed in an email to Home Health Care News.
While UPS declined to provide further comment, the details of the pilot were first reported in Reuters last week.
As part of the test, vaccines will be shipped from UPS’s Louisville, Kentucky, headquarters to one of the company’s U.S. franchises, of which there are more than 4,7000, according to the Reuters. A home health nurse contracted by UPS’s clinical trial logistics unit Marken will then pick up the packages, drive them to patients’ homes and administer the vaccines.
It’s still unclear which vaccinations will be included in the pilot, which is set to begin later this year, but drug and vaccine maker Merck & Co. (NYSE: MRK) is considering partnering with UPS for the test, Reuters reported.
Merck offers a variety of vaccines for viral illnesses, from shingles to the flu.
Additionally, it’s unclear how and if insurance providers will react to UPS’s test, Reuters reported.
Meanwhile, experts believe the planned test is a strategic move to give UPS an edge over competitors such as Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) and FedEx (NYSE: FDX).
HHCN reported on several flirtations Amazon had with the home health space last year. The company acquired online pharmacy company PillPack and explored an at-home testing partnership, while rumors swirled about the online commerce company’s involvement with an in-home robot codenamed “Veta” and a pilot program focused on easing patients’ transitions between hospital and home.
While this is the logistic company’s first foray into home-based care specifically, UPS got into health care back in the early 2000s. The company offers health care shipping, compliance, storage, distribution and a number of additional services.