In light of recent medical and health-related concerns, operational technology is needed now more than ever. An example of active technology is pneumatic tube systems. Originated in the nineteenth century, they are now a critical part of health care, specifically patient care.
There exist many difficulties and complications in the world of medicine. Last year, a majority of hospitals reported challenges in obtaining supplies. Obviously, the accuracy of testing and dispensing is affected by these complications. Blood and other organic materials are often temperature-sensitive. Many substances are scrapped if not correctly stored. Six percent of emergency lab specimens get rejected before analysis. This leads to up to sixteen percent of hospital inventory being wasted. Speed is vital in transporting pharmaceuticals and other supplies.
Pneumatic tube systems typically transport materials at about twenty-five feet per second. These systems work by moving carriers using compressed air. Similarly to a subway, each carrier is taken through a system of tubes with sensors to ensure their intended destinations are reached. Filters keep dust and pollen away from the cargo. Other features include a multi-carrier carousel that stamps out wait times, tracking transponders, a slowing mechanism at delivery stations to slow arrival, and security features to limit cargo access to authorized personnel.
One hospital cited that a carrier could travel an immense distance in under three minutes at their heaviest traffic time. Medical Facilities noted changes in the efficiency of emergency testing. Serum sodium testing is accomplished nineteen minutes faster than without a tube system. CBC-count testing and troponin I testing are completed in twenty minutes and twenty-two minutes, respectively, with an advanced system than without a system.
Accuracy is equally important as speed in the world of medicine. Advanced pneumatic tube systems could potentially lower medication errors. Over a month-long period, one hospital noticed sixteen medication errors on the floor with no tube system compared to zero errors on the floor with one.