Material Handling Automation
Swisslog’s autonomous transport solutions automate material handling, significantly reducing the need for staff to sort, move and transport materials throughout the hospital. Our systems automate transport of small, medium and large payloads of laundry, hospital food, sterile goods, waste and hazardous materials. Additionally, these cost-effective and efficient material handling systems can safely transport sensitive items including blood, specimens, IVs and other medications. Transferring this work to robots and pneumatic tube systems helps hospitals standardize processes, reduce damage to facilities and most importantly, allows staff to focus on patient-care activities.
Transporting materials via autonomous mobile robots frees staff for more value-added tasks. Hospital pharmacies and laboratories can use these robots to securely transport lab specimens, medications, supplies and protected health information without allocating man-hours to the task.
Automated Linen Transport
By providing clean linens, hospital laundry services are helping to prevent and contain the spread of germs, as well as instilling confidence in the care patients are receiving from the hospital. Hospital laundry services handle patient and staff clothing and linens used during the patient care process, including blankets, towels and pillows. Improving the reliability of material handling among laundry, supply and patient care areas can positively impact the patient experience by ensuring supplies are available when and where they are needed.
Blood and Specimen Transport
Time is critical when transporting blood. Blood products must be delivered from refrigeration to the right patient in minutes. Speed of delivery for patient specimens can be equally as pressing. Potentially life-saving decisions rest on prompt lab results – and those are only possible if patient specimens reach the lab quickly and safely.
Case Cart Transport
Hospitals are increasingly focusing on material management as a means of controlling costs. By centralizing storage, stocking and preparation of surgical and emergency carts for the operating room, hospitals can ensure surgeons have the right instruments and supplies at the right time and avoid the added expense of purchasing more equipment than needed, or delays due to not having the right tools to support OR procedures.
Chain of Custody
To ensure medications, patient specimens and other materials have not been contaminated, tampered with or mishandled during transport, hospitals can rely on Swisslog chain-of-custody solutions to track pneumatic tube carriers and their contents from dispatch to retrieval. Featuring advanced system capabilities, our chain-of-custody solutions automatically manage sender and receiver information, delivery confirmation and event/alert notifications – eliminating time-consuming and error-prone manual tracking.
Hazardous Material Transport
Transporting hazardous materials throughout the hospital requires special attention to protect personnel, systems and patients from contamination and exposure. Based on a hospital’s protocol, this task may be automated by using a pneumatic tube system. Swisslog pneumatic tube systems, along with secondary containers and leak-resistant carriers, are qualified to safely deliver hazardous materials including bio-hazardous waste, nuclear medicines, patient specimens, cytostatics and cytotoxic drugs.
Hospital Food Service
In response to patients’ demands for higher-quality food service, hospitals are looking for ways to make timelier room service deliveries, and some facilities have even started offering on-demand meal service. Automation can make these tasks possible and much more cost-effective.
Delivering excellent patient care is the number-one priority of every hospital. Automating the distribution of medication throughout the hospital not only allows the right medications to reach the right individuals at the right time, it also enables nurses and other skilled professionals to focus on direct patient care and not routine delivery tasks. Swisslog’s automated material transport and material management systems provide efficient, precise and rapid drug delivery.
Sterile Goods Transport
Ensuring an adequate supply of sterile goods helps reduce the spread of infectious diseases in hospitals. The central sterile services department likely serves the entire hospital, processing and reprocessing instruments and other materials for safe reuse. Once sterilized and packaged, the materials must be handled properly as they are transferred to operating rooms and other areas of the hospital to ensure they are not damaged, opened or contaminated.
System Design Analysis
Changes in operation, facility growth and increased patient-care services impact the performance of automated material management and material transport systems. When a material handling system is inefficient, staff respond by manually transporting materials, which results in lost time and money, reduces quality patient care and defeats the purpose of having an automated material transport system altogether.
Regular, safe disposition of waste helps hospitals maintain a clean environment for patients, staff and visitors. Along with being a time-consuming process, manual trash transport exposes staff to contact with medical and biohazardous waste and potential injuries. For these reasons, hospitals may choose to automate waste transport as part of their healthcare waste management plan.