Pnuematic tube system in new hospitals

Pneumatic tube station room on level 6A.

A system of pneumatic tubes will facilitate the movement of medications, test samples and various supplies throughout Loma Linda University Health’s soon-to-open adult hospital and Children’s Hospital tower. This new tube system allows for secure transmission of materials between two locations, an enhancement over a similar system that served the historic cloverleaf facility.

Fifty pneumatic tube stations will be located across the future hospitals. Canisters capable of carrying up to a 1000 ml IV bag will move through the system at 18 feet per second. Materials approved for sending through this system include:

    •      Blood products

    •      Collections tubes

    •      Capillary tubes (pending testing in the fall)

    •      Capped syringes w/o needles

    •      Biohazard bags

    •      Urine

    •      Stools

    •      Body fluid

    •      Cold packs

    •      Oral medications – non-narcotics

    •      IV fluids

    •      Labels

    •      Patient supplies (no sharps)

When the nature of the material being sent requires an extra level of security, the system will generate a password for each secure shipment. Staff in the receiving department will have five minutes to enter the password once the canister arrives, or the canister will be returned to the shipping station.

Each tube station will have a specific number of canisters assigned. When a canister arrives at a station, staff will check to see if that station has the proper number of units on hand. If the arriving canister does not need to be held at that station, staff will designate the canister as “empty” on the touchpad and the system will reroute the empty carrier to a station that does not have the proper number on hand.

You can also follow a blog with photos by Loma Linda resident Dennis E. Park, who is documenting the project at www.docuvision2020.com.