Pneumatic tube systems....

  1. We are getting a spanking brand new hospital!! This is a real feat for us because the one we are working in now is from the Florence Nightingale era. (Not quite maybe, but close). Management is trying to pretend that they are actually interested in what the nurses are saying we need. One thing that a lot of us really think would be a real time saver and a tremendous help would be a tube system. You know, like the kind they have at the drive thru at the banks? Well of course we are being shot down by administration and maintenance. Administration says it costs too much and maintenance says they plug up all the time. (My next question for them is how the heck do they know since we have never ever had one? Plus they seem to be pretty popular at the drive thru banks.) I need some reasons why this would be a good idea. The ones I have come up with is:

    1. We can tube stuff to lab.
    2. Pharm. can tube stuff to us and vica versa.
    3. Admitting can send up paperwork.
    4. It would save countless steps and energy for us.
    5. We could tube reqs to purchasing.

    For those of you who work in a hospital with a tube system, how has it benefited the staff? What about maint. problems? Have any of you ever worked in a facility that had the tube system and then went to one that didn't? Any help for this would be appreciated it. Thanks...

    Becky
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  2. 34 Comments

  3. by   NurseGirlKaren
    Why would you NOT have a tube system? I can't imagine a hospital without one!! As long as you don't send things that you're not supposed to, they are pretty reliable and don't jam.

    I would push really hard for this. My department is physically located in the building next door to the hospital and nurses bringing patients are forever forgetting patient labels, med kardexes, etc. "Oh, I'll just tube it to you." Uh, no you won't--we don't have a tube station. Makes it really inconvenient.

    Good luck.
  4. by   bossynurse
    can't operate a hospital of our size without a tube system. I guess if they want to pay someone to transport meds and labs all over the hospital 24 hours a day. Ours rarely goes down unless some d/a send a urine specimin without double bagging.
  5. by   P_RN
    I LOVED the tube system. Two problem areas were it didn't go to dietary...so no tubing menus or meal tickets, and I never cottoned to the idea their sending blood through the tube system.

    Precaution materials were sent in padded red tubes and I guess vacutainers weren't too bad but the idea of the blood bank sending packed cells always gave me the creeps. I had a bag go to another floor, and while I waited for it, the other floor never checked their tube because they weren't expecting anything. It stayed over there for over an hour.

    We can't afford it is a bogus reason. Ours was paid for out of capital funds and was worth EVERY penny.
  6. by   Jolie
    I worked many moons ago in a large medical center that had a tube system. It was a Godsend for getting orders to where they needed to go in the pre-fax machine days. We never sent lab specimens thru it, and could not receive narcotics via the tube system. I definitely think it is worth investigating, though.
  7. by   nurs4kids
    They're like computers..once you have it, you can' t live without them..
    we've had very few problems with ours..
    as for the maintenance aspect..hubby works mnt at the hospital, and here's his take, "you may go weeks without a jam and you may have a jam every day for a week..the biggest problem is users transferring tubes from one station to another and confusing the system". IF you have a mnt problem, it takes about ten mins to clear it out. Occassionally, if someone doesn't properly bag a specimen and it spills out in the system, the whole system has to be shut down while a "cleaning tube" is sent to ALL stations involved. This takes about 2 hrs for our entire hospital with 34 stations.

    Our system is about 10yrs old and has very little mnt problems. I can think of NO reason to NOT have one..
  8. by   dianah
    Ours is heavily used, muchly appreciated. Have had it for three years (ever since we moved into OUR new facility ), can't remember it ever being down for problems.

    Can you do an area survey and get some hard facts from facilities that use it, re: cost savings of tube system VS human transport (minimum wage/benefits/efficiency) -- tube system doesn't require sick leave, vacation pay, medical/dental coverage, time off, == is always there, ready to work.

    Seems it would be too expensive NOT to install one (especially considering you're starting from the ground up).

    Good luck! -- D
  9. by   Gardengal
    I think the tube system is a real timesaver. At my current place of employment it's a little limited though because it couldn't go into some areas without a lot of reconstuction so they chose not to include some areas. In a new hospital though it should be pretty straightforward. The tube system at my hospital was installed after I started there in th epast few years and has really improved our deliveries.

    If you can't sell the idea on decreased labor costs because of transport of items, maybe you can convince them with increased speed and efficacy of treatment:

    Lab tests run quicker because specimen goes straight to the lab instead of traveling in a basket while a phlebotomist draws more blood before returning to the lab.

    Blood transfusions can be given quicker because you don't have run for the blood.

    Documentation is more accurate because you get your addressograph plate sooner-so your chart has better identification.

    Forgotten meds with transfers can be tubed-so doses don't get missed.

    Pharmacy copies of orders can be tubed to pharmacy-speeding up order verification and then delivery.

    Old charts from medical records come sooner-better care and MD satisfaction

    Better transport times for patients to get to tests because escorts, and aides don't have to do the other trips.

    Remind them that salary costs are perpetual, and they would speed up delivery and decrease labor costs so the sytem would eventually pay for itself if your hospital is large enough.
  10. by   baseline
    I love the tube system. Ours goes to pharmacy, lab, each nursing usnit,admissions, ED and I don't know what we would do without it. We have padded tubes for glass items, and blood etc gets put into a sealed plastic bag before it goes in a padded tube.
  11. by   Tinkertots
    I just can't imagine not having a tube system. I am just curious, Deespoohbear, how many beds in your hospital?
  12. by   Tweety
    We've always had a tube system. They just a couple of years ago expanded it to the supply department. Which is one you didn't mention before. You can now get supplies that are small enough to tube to you from supplies.

    Love it!
  13. by   RN-PA
    I can't imagine NOT having a tube system. Ours does go down once in a while-- I thought it was to clean a spill (I've received IV bags that were leaking in the carrier), but there must be other reasons, I'm sure. We get our packed red blood cells through the tube, but they come with a code which the lab phones to us that must be punched in before the tube is allowed to drop into the receiving area, and is considered a secure carrier. We also send specimens to the lab, get reports from the ED or transfers from other units through the tube. we get all our meds from pharmacy via the tube except for narcs, and our supplies department will send us whatever will fit in the tube-- restraints, foley cath supplies, IV tubing, air freshener, etc.
  14. by   jemb
    I've worked places with tube systems as well as several without (including one county hospital with about 800 beds!) Where I currently work, the tube system is a terrific timesaver. We don't get products from the blood bank through it, though, and I would be very hesitant to send any stat lab specimen via tube in case it ended up in the wrong place or stuck in the system somewhere. Our system won't deliver if the reception bin is full, so it is possible for a delay to happen. However, in the six years at this particular place, the system has never been down for repairs.

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