Pneumatic Tubes: Keeping Health Systems Running Smoothly

As we know, hospitals must run efficiently to keep up with demand - learn how pneumatic tubes are keeping health systems running smoothly. ...
Pneumatic Tubes: Keeping Health Systems Running Smoothly
Written by Brian Wallace
  • The COVID pandemic may be basically over. In year three, the effects of the disease are still widespread. This is in many more ways than just those felt by individuals suffering long term effects of the illness. Pneumatic tubes have had a role to play, let’s explore below.

    COVID Changed Our Processes

    COVID caused us to take a closer, and often more painful, look at how we function. The processes we use in virtually everything from production, to shipping, to services performed, and especially to medical procedures and standard hospital operations. 

    Hospitals and other medical facilities have been under extreme pressure and strain due to many COVID related issues, such as staffing shortages and added standard practices to prevent exposure and infection. 

    Other issues plaguing hospitals have to do with procurement of necessary drugs, and instruments such as pipettes and sterile water for lab testing. Staffing shortages also affect the supply shortage as there may not be enough time for some staff to stop patient care to transport temperature and/or time sensitive items within the allowed time allotment. Failure to transport labs or blood quickly means that blood is no longer usable or labs need to be re-done, resulting in wasted supply and wasted time. 

    Hospital staff are constantly running at full speed and their expertise is much more needed in hands-on patient care, rather than being used as courier for labs, blood, or drugs. However, this certainly doesn’t stop the need for these important items to receive speedy transport. 

    How Pneumatic Tube Systems Help Hospital Efficiency

    This is where a pneumatic tube system could be invaluable to any large medical facility, especially hospitals. 

    The pneumatic tube system has been around since its invention in the early 19th century, and we are quite familiar with the system when it comes to banks or some pharmacies. Carriers are transported through tubes via the use of vacuum pressures, which make each transport extremely fast and efficient. There is a need for frequent transport given the time constraints. The installation and use of a pneumatic tube system seems like an obvious solution for any large medical facility. 

    The system can be installed within the walls of any hospital. Centralized stations throughout the facility provide efficient and safe transport. They move blood, drugs, labs, and other frequently transported items to any location within the facility. Even from the farthest points in the hospital, this transport via pneumatic tube carrier, would take less than 5 minutes. One hospital which has a fully operational pneumatic tube system, reports transporting upwards of 7,000 carriers every single day. 

    In Conclusion

    The necessity of in-facility transport is such a common concern. Also, time sensitivity and temperature sensitivity of some transported items. With a serious staffing shortage, the installation of the pneumatic tube system makes sense for large medical facilities. Trained staff are no longer couriers and can use their important skills for actually treating patients. It frees up transportation time and provides a safe, sterile, and speedy transport, and saves on wasted supplies.

    Medical Facilities Need Operational Technology More Than Ever
    Source: Swisslog Healthcare

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