How Pneumatic Tube Systems Improve Hospital Efficiency
The pneumatic tube system (in which packages travel through vacuum tubes in the walls) was invented in the 19th century. In hospitals that use them, labs, pharmaceuticals, and supplies can travel 25 feet per second. Because these materials can be temperature sensitive, speedy transfer in the right storage container is the difference between use and discard. 16% of hospital pharmaceutical inventory and 6% of emergency lab specimens are wasted every year. Pneumatic tubes are the operational technology hospitals need today.
Hospitals that use pneumatic tubes have seen incredible success. In 2010, Stanford Children’s Hospital transported 7,000 items a day in their tube system. They used 124 stations, 141 transfer units, and over 36 different alert chimes to coordinate the flow of materials. In times of health emergency, getting tests, lab equipment, and medicine to the right location is critical to patient care, especially in cases when a hospital can deny patients.
Tube systems are also better at getting items to the right place on the first try. Real-time tracking ensures each order goes to the current station. In one hospital in peak traffic, a carrier can travel the longest distance in less than 3 minutes. Name another transportation method that gets physical materials through a hospital that quickly.