Friday, November 2, 2012

you can't fax a blood sample

Save space, save money, save time, and what's more, better patient care ... A new development at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre ticks off all of the reasons to install pneumatic tubes between their network of hospitals, and extend upon the existing lines. Pneumatic tubes are described this time, in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, as an "age-old technology that has disappeared from much of the business world", but one needed in hospitals because "you can't fax a blood sample". These Swisslog tubes extend far - almost two city blocks. The journalist describes the 3D plans for the installation as like a page from a Dr. Seuss book, interviewing a number of developers, including representatives at Swisslog and Pevco about the tubes. One states "as hospitals expand, they're rarely one building anymore", the new hospital one that requires a centralised lab connected easily to the different buildings. Space is about patient care, and the more you can hide away the better - pneumatic tubes are perfect for this, their metal pipes invisible to most who visit a hospital. It is not so invisible to many hospital designers and engineers however, who are designing the tubes in more and more hospitals, nor to the many lab staff whose positions now become redundant as the tubes do their work.

Image: Pneumatic tubes in a parking garage from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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