Pandemic and Pneumatic Tubes in Hospitals

The COVID pandemic was a global event so significant that it will have its downstream effects spread for years and years to come. On many levels these will be social, cultural, and general societal changes, but for some industries like the medical community, the effects could not be more obvious.

Following the pandemic, in 2021, 99% of U.S. hospitals were having procurement problems, leading to 80% of physicians experiencing drug shortages. These drugs weren’t just COVID related either, as the reality is today 16% of hospitals drug inventory is wasted. Speed is vital to ensure that samples aren’t rejected and materials are stored properly.

Speed is one thing that has been majorly diminished following the pandemic. Staffing shortages, drops in efficiency, and general changes to ensure safety have slowed down hospitals globally. One proposed solution is the idea of a pneumatic hospital, or pneumatic tubes carrying drugs and equipment from place to place in a hospital system.

Pneumatic tubes, famously known for their use in mailrooms, are actually an extremely effective method of transportation. They work by using compressed air and switches to move a carrier from one location to another almost instantly. The time loss is important as was mentioned before, but maybe more importantly is the drop in error.

Less human contact and more automation means less drugs have to go to waste. Pneumatic tubes can move samples from a hospital to a lab, drugs from a pharmacy to a hospital, and get emergency medications to patients fast. It’s one of many solutions, but in this post COVID world inventive solutions like these are what will help us return to normalcy.

Medical Facilities Need Operational Technology More Than Ever
Source: Swisslog Healthcare
Adam Hansen