Wednesday, January 11, 2012

new tubes for old hospitals

Hospital architecture has to constantly evolve with medical technology. It has been said that a hospital is already outdated by the time it is built. New imaging techniques mean new radiological suites, laproscopic surgery calls for different operating room spaces, and green star ratings requires modifications in temperature control, water management and waste disposal. Existing pneumatic tube systems are updated, and installed, adapting to the needs of the hospital.

New wards in hospitals are being installed with pneumatic tubes, such as at Vista Health System, in Waukegan, Illinois (USA), where a new pneumatic tube system in the Progressive Care Unit delivers "supplies and medical documents directly to the nurses station". In Kovai Medical Centre and Hospital, in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu (India), a new pneumatic tube system not only "helped reduce medication errors, mix-up of laboratory samples, sample misplacement" but also supposedly "improved the working relationship amongst staff in the clinical support areas". Since the tubes have also led to a "silent" pharmacy and laboratory, with minimal interaction between staff and patient assistants (moving in and out in the street shoes), one can't help but wonder what other effects the technology may be having on working relationships in the hospital.

This photo, from Flikr, shows a steamfitter and foreman for SwissLog checking pneumatic tube piping for dents. It is part of a series of photos taken by Marc Barnes documenting the installation of pneumatic pipes and other construction work at the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital Oaks Pavilion, in Fort Belvoir, Virginia (USA).

1 comment:

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