Monday, June 21, 2021

How Pneumatic Tube Systems Work in Hospitals

Undeniably, work that goes on in a hospital revolves around life or death. Because of the nature of hospital work, it is imperative that hospitals work with systems that are fast and reliable. In this digital age, information can be sent in mere seconds with the use of the internet. 

However, we don’t have systems in place that would be able to send physical objects as fast. There aren’t that many advancements in the industry that allows the transport of physical objects very quickly. This is where the pneumatic tube system hospital comes in handy.

The pneumatic tube system was an innovative invention that was borne out of the man’s curiosity for technological advancement. Functionally, pneumatic tube systems work using air and a network of tubes. Theoretically, the pneumatic tube system uses air, either forced air or vacuum pressure, to move objects through a series of tubes that would essentially transport them from a geographic location to another in a short amount of time. 

How Pneumatic Tube Systems Work in Hospitals

Despite its age, very few advancements have been made in the technological sophistication of pneumatic tube systems and modern pneumatic tube systems operate pretty much the same way. But even when they are more than 200 years old, it seems that several industries still make use of these pneumatic tube systems. Here is a rundown of how pneumatic tube systems work in hospitals. 


The first reason why pneumatic tube systems are used in hospitals is that they are convenient. Every person working in a hospital will always have something better to do with their time than simply carrying something to another part of the hospital. This is especially true for large hospitals where going from one place to another can take up so much valuable time. 

As hospitals get larger and larger, the travel between clinics where samples are obtained and the labs where the samples are analyzed get longer and longer. Back then, hospitals even had to hire teams of people to simply be tasked to bring things from one place to another. Pneumatic tube systems not only benefit hospitals with convenience, but also help save the hospital money by hiring entire teams with the sole duty of delivering items around the hospital.

Convenience will always be a good reason to have pneumatic tube systems because this frees up time for everyone to do productive work that could literally save someone’s life. 


Another good reason to use pneumatic tube systems is that they’re fast. By all means, pneumatic tube systems are not as fast as sending an email. However, sending an object using a pneumatic tube system will always be significantly faster compared to a person carrying it on their own. Speed is a good thing to have in a building such as a hospital because the faster things happen, the faster the hospital caters to their patients. 

Furthermore, speed can be a more valuable asset than simple convenience. Speed can also be a factor that could save someone’s life. A surgeon might use the pneumatic tube system to send and receive samples that need to be analyzed at a lab quickly to allow them to make decisions during a surgery. Speed is very important when dealing with people in critical conditions where every single minute matters. 


In reality, pneumatic tube systems make hospitals safer – safer for both people and the objects being transported. 

Pneumatic tube systems use capsules that travel through the series of tubes. With sufficient protection, this system allows the careful transport of samples that are exceptionally valuable. Some biological samples might be easier to obtain such as blood. However, there are samples that are exceedingly difficult such as spinal fluid. Thus, it would be best for everyone if the samples reach the appropriate labs safely and intact. 

Another way pneumatic tube systems make hospitals safer is that it can limit the exposure of the samples to the people in the hospital. Imagine having to bring a sample containing a highly contagious virus. A simple accident can turn a hospital into an epicenter of a viral outbreak really quickly. 

Even if the sample might not be dangerous to the entire locality, it can still be dangerous for the person carrying the sample itself. Thus, limiting the exposure of human contact is a bonus for using pneumatic tube systems.  


Depending on the specifications of the pneumatic tube system, tubes can travel as fast as 25 feet per second – about 18 miles per hour. This would mean that pneumatic tube systems can transport physical objects faster than any human could by walking. While definitely a convenience, this speed can sometimes be ultimately necessary. Some samples are highly time sensitive to the point that pneumatic tube systems become necessary. 

As mentioned above, pneumatic tube systems are very crucial to operating rooms. Samples such as arterial blood gases have to be sent to the laboratory for analysis in a very short amount of time to let people in the operating room know whether they need to change the settings in their monitor. 

Pneumatic tube systems definitely improved turnover time since surgeons had to call the lab to have someone sent over to get the sample before the use of pneumatic tube systems.


Although pneumatic tube systems are more than 200 years old, they still have numerous benefits for a modern industry such as a hospital. Using pneumatic tube systems, hospitals become more efficient and effective in what they do. The pneumatic tube systems might not be visible for everyone to see, but they do tremendous work behind the walls.

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