Pneumatic tubes have been around since as early as the 19th century. They use air to get carriers from one area to another. As the system becomes more complex, diverters are introduced to change tracks for these carriers, and trackers are added to ensure they end up in the right place.
One place these tubing systems have begun to shine is in hospitals. Hospitals have been in a period of struggle over the past few years as the pandemic has created never before seen strain on their systems. Not only are the faculty understaffed and overworked, but drug shortages and shortages at large have become far more common.
Today 16% of all pharmaceutical inventory is wasted, this is a significant loss for both patients and hospitals alike, but it’s not completely unavoidable. Pneumatic tubes work to lower time wasted, errors made, and materials wasted in hospital contexts. Advanced and modern tube systems can save as much as 25 minutes on testing wait times.
This frees up more workers and saves more lives. Pneumatic tubes have also been shown to reduce errors. In a hospital with floors with and without tubes, over four weeks the tube floor had zero errors while the tubeless floor had 16. This also works to ensure that even when drugs are in shortage, they’re at least not being wasted.
The University of Iowa has one of the leading pneumatic systems currently. It is impressive not only because of the 6,000 daily carriers delivered, but also because of its scope. Their system allows for drugs to move straight from a pharmacy to the hospital and tests straight from the hospital to the labs.
This is the perfect example of an efficient and useful system. Workers have less to worry about, more time is saved, and errors are less common. This is what hospitals and similar healthcare facilities need. Shortages in equipment, drugs, and staff may be unavoidable in some contexts but still, pneumatic tubes can help offset everything that entails.