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A Simple Fix to Practical Medical Problems



pneumatic tube systems

Hospitals and the healthcare industry at large have been struggling ever since the COVID pandemic took hold of the nation. This is seen across the board in multiple different categories, for example, 99% of U.S hospitals reported having problems procuring drugs in 2021. Testing delays also became common as COVID tests were in peak demand.


This means that people are not only not always getting the care and medicine they need, but also the care given may be delayed or of lower quality. On top of this medical systems are riddled with inefficiencies. 16% of all pharmaceutical inventory is completely wasted. 


Pneumatic Tube Systems to Increase Efficiency


These are all very real concerns for both healthcare providers and patients alike. One solution to consider are pneumatic tubes. Pneumatic tube systems work by rapidly transporting materials around using compressed air. This has been around for a long time, but newer innovations have made it an even more reliable tool.


In practice, pneumatic tubes operate like subways. There are sensors that ensure each carrier reaches its destination, and these carriers are moved to and from separate stations, floors, and buildings. Stanford Children’s hospital alone transmits 7,000 carriers daily. This is possible due to some of the advanced innovations their system holds.


A clean-air filter to reduce dust and other particles, a multi-queue system to reduce travel inefficiency, trackers accessible from all stations, and a fully realized transport system where all stations lead to one another are just a few of these. At worst this system has a carrier arriving in three minutes. 


Tube Systems in Action


The University of Iowa has a similarly innovative system. Their system allows for medication delivery from pharmacies to the hospital, lab test instant transportation, and even has priority delivery for emergency medications. These systems are universally shown to reduce at least 10 minutes in delivery.


These are also more reliable systems than normal delivery. Comparing two hospital floors, one with a pneumatic system and one not, the one with a tube system saw zero errors while the one without saw 16. This system is free of any human contact, efficient, and far less error-prone. 


In Conclusion


It’s through this system that hospitals have started to reduce the amount of wasted drugs and save time. Overhauled systems like these make the whole hospital more efficient by saving meaningful time, reducing error, and reducing the amount of people needed to complete an action. It’s not a perfect solution but it moves hospitals in the right direction.

Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading content marketing agency that makes the world's ideas simple, visual, and influential. Brian has been named a Google Small Business Advisor for 2016-present and joined the SXSW Advisory Board in 2019-present.

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