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Staff using TransLogic Nexus station

Pneumatic Tube Systems Amplify Pharmacy Automations

Pneumatic Tube Systems Connect Internal Supply Chains

The Future of Pharmacy Automation In Hospitals

A recent report published by Allied Market Research estimates that the global pharmacy automation system market is projected to grow to $11.21 billion by 2030. And, according to a market assessment from PharmWeb, leading the growth is the hospital pharmacy market. However, if these automations aren’t connected by internal infrastructure e.g. pneumatic tube systems – efficiency is restricted to the pharmacy workflow.

What is Pharmacy Automation

Hospital pharmacy automation encompasses several areas, including several identified by the Pharmacy Times as follows:

  • Automated robotics that handle vial-filling and packaging of medication.
  • RFID-enabled retrieval and storage cabinets.
  • Software that streamlines workflow and provides greater visibility over inventory and dispensation.
  • Analytics that include artificial intelligence (AI) technology that helps pharmacists identify possible hazards and medications discrepancies in advance.

Automation solves several challenges for hospitals. First and foremost is the need to increase medication safety, an area which has always been a major concern for hospitals as they strive to improve patient outcomes and provide value-based care. It is also seen as a solution to help hospitals address staffing challenges through process automation. In essence, hospital pharmacy automation helps to optimize the time and efforts of valuable staff. Finally, it is the evolution of the technology itself, especially in areas such as AI that is driving increased interest in automation.

Lack of Automation Is Becoming a Growing Liability For Hospitals.


Those who continue to rely upon manual methods to operate their pharmacies may find themselves paying more in the long run, and the same is true for organizations that rely on manual transport. Hospital pharmacy automation technologies help pharmacies save time, effort, reduce waste and improve accuracy, but scaling that efficiency requires efforts beyond the pharmacy.

In our blog “The Many Ways to View a Pneumatic Tube System”, engineering data tells us that pneumatic tube systems can deliver materials at 20 feet per second – or about 5 times faster than a human. Now consider that hospital pharmacies can fill thousands of orders per day, and those orders need to be distributed across the organization.

Here are five key areas where a lack of hospital transport automation can quickly become costly:

  • Increased Labor Costs: Without pneumatic tube systems, hospitals rely heavily on manual processes for transporting medications and supplies. This manual handling can consume a significant portion of staff time. Implementing pneumatic tube systems streamlines the transportation process, freeing up staff to focus on higher-value tasks. The TransLogic ROI calculator illuminates the impact this can have.
  • Medication Transport: Hospitals lacking pneumatic tube systems face a heightened risk of compromised medication. Manual transportation methods can result in spills or breakages, leading to unnecessary disposal of medications. For example, when drawing from a vial, any unused portion may need to be discarded due to contamination risks. Pneumatic tube systems ensure secure and sterile transportation, minimizing the likelihood of waste and optimizing resource utilization.
  • Medication Errors: The absence of pneumatic tube systems can exacerbate the risk of medication errors, posing a significant threat to patient safety and hospital finances. Medication errors cost hospitals millions of dollars annually in corrective actions and legal repercussions. Using a pneumatic tube system mitigates these risks by facilitating swift and secure medication delivery, reducing the potential for errors in delivery by a human courier.
  • Loss of Efficiency: Manual transportation methods impede hospital pharmacy operational efficiency, hindering the ability to optimize staff utilization and deliver high-quality patient care. Without pneumatic tube systems, hospitals may struggle to implement new initiatives and adapt to evolving industry demands. Pneumatic tube systems streamline transportation processes, enabling hospitals to enhance operational efficiency and remain agile in a dynamic healthcare landscape.
  • Employee Turnover: The strain of manual transportation tasks can contribute to employee burnout, leading to higher turnover rates among hospital staff. Hospitals without pneumatic tube systems may struggle to retain skilled professionals who seek opportunities in facilities equipped with modern automation technologies.
staff using translogic pneumatic tube system

Lack of Automation Technology Has a Powerful Ripple Effect

It is important to note that by continuing to use outdated processes instead of deploying automation to address the above challenges, the hospital’s reputation can be negatively impacted. That is serious in a world of growing competition between health care organizations. Building a brand and maintaining a solid reputation is critical as hospitals compete to break apart old models and replace them with environments that focus on wellness for both patients and employees.

Consumer expectations must also be considered. Today’s consumers have choices, and they know it. They are now able to decide which critical care facility they prefer. And, because they are more tech savvy themselves, they expect automation in all areas of their lives. That includes healthcare.

The Time to Automate For Many Hospitals Is Now

Today’s hospitals continue to struggle with lingering issues resulting from the pandemic as well as changing industry expectations which include the need to serve more patients, more efficiently and in new patient-centric ways. Margins are thin and staffing continues to be at sub-optimum levels. The pharmacy is no exception.

The challenges articulated through these findings should be a wake-up call for hospital leaders who continue to operate using outdated processes. Not only will it be costly, it will keep hospitals sidelined by those hospital leaders who lean in to change and innovation.

The technologies are there to take the burden of conducting tedious, time-consuming tasks off the backs of employees. Now is the time to take advantage of them.