Advanced Technology for Medical Facilities

Unexpected health crises have increased pressure on essential medicine workers. Materials and employees have been spread thin by the coronavirus pandemic, along with other seasonal flare-ups and contagious diseases. This pressure has numerous adverse effects on patients. However, technology exists that lowers time lost and other advancements to alleviate some of the burden. This automation will be introduced, explained, and expanded upon in the following paragraphs. 

Pneumatic tube systems are the technology in question. Created in the nineteenth century, they have since been improved for greater efficiency in medical facilities. Pneumatic tube systems work similarly to a subway system as they transport cargo to the floors and wings of a hospital. Compressed air pushes carriers filled with medicine or organic substances around. Some of these materials, such as blood, are temperature-sensitive and at risk of being discarded if not correctly stored. Six percent of emergency lab specimens get rejected before analysis on average. This leads to the waste of up to sixteen percent of hospital pharmaceutical inventory.

More recent renditions of this tube system have other features. Particle filters keep dust and pollen away from cargo. Multi-carrier carousels queue carriers and eliminate wait times. This development can facilitate emergency testing and half the usual times. Additionally, runners slow upon arrival, RFID transponders track each porter from all stations, and security features ensure only authorized personnel. The tracking features allow medication errors to be thwarted. Finally, any route changes are handled with Transfer Units to exchange cargo. 

Some hospitals have recorded data showing the impact of an integrated pneumatic tube system. In 2010, Stanford Hospital imparted seven thousand carriers daily via their system in their children’s hospital alone. Their children’s hospital managed this with one hundred twenty-four stations, one hundred forty-one transfer stations, ninety-nine inter-zone connectors, twenty-nine blowers, and over thirty-six alert chimes. Similarly, the University of Iowa’s Master Transfer Unit transports six thousand carriers, contains one hundred sixty-seven stations on the main campus, thirteen additional stations offsite, and eight miles of steel pipe. 

Tube systems can quickly deliver medication from central pharmacies throughout the hospital systems. They accomplish this while maintaining security and traceability. Tests and samples are sent directly to labs, reducing the need for human couriers. The advancements discussed above also reduce the risk of running out of inventory within a department, labeling errors, and damage to samples. Pneumatic tube systems are a great fit for facility management, hospital management, hospital planning, inpatient pharmacies, laboratories, and nurse wards.

Medical Facilities Need Operational Technology

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