St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Jacksonville, Fla., has relied on its Pevco pneumatic tube delivery system for years. Known as one of the top 50 heart hospitals in the country, the busy 528-bed medical center has continued to grow and expand since it was founded in 1916.
Most recently, St. Vincent’s added a new family practice building, a new heart center and a new cancer center. This expansion necessitated adding 4 more stations to their delivery system for a total of 25, as well as another zone. St. Vincent’s was also looking to speed up their system and make it more efficient.
St. Vincent’s chose to upgrade to Pevco’s Smart Path. Smart Path technology ensures that carriers always travel the shortest, fastest route within a system by allowing any blower to handle any transaction from start to finish. Smart Path completes most transactions in just two moves—vacuum and pressure—so carriers go directly to their receiving stations without waiting in storage diverters for future delivery. And since empty carriers can be stored anywhere in the system, time spent waiting for carriers is decreased by an average of 50%.
Pevco sales representative Tim Dyar explains: “With traditional systems, the issue is wait time. You can only process one transaction per blower. Smart Path speeds everything up. It really makes the system much more efficient so you can process more transactions faster with less equipment.”
For St. Vincent’s, the results have been dramatic. The hospital has increased transactions by approximately 30%—from about 1,100 per day to more than 1,400 per day—and has cut wait times by at least two-thirds. “I could not believe it when I started pulling the numbers,” says Mike Rutherford, lead mechanic.
Minimizing wait times is especially important for the hospital’s phlebotomists, says Peggy Winters, lab support services manager at St. Vincent’s. Each morning, as many as 60 blood samples need to be sent from throughout the hospital to the lab for processing. Before Smart Path, the delivery system was often busy, and the phlebotomists would have to wait several minutes for each transaction to be sent.
“It was affecting our ability to be efficient on our end,” says Winters. The samples need to be processed immediately so that physicians have the results as soon as possible. Implementing Smart Path has allowed the phlebotomists and the lab to shorten the turnaround time. “We’ve been thrilled with it,” says Winters. “I have not had any complaints.”
Smart Path has also made Rutherford’s job easier. “I can shut a blower down to do my preventative maintenance and it doesn’t affect the system at all.” Prior to installing Smart Path, Rutherford would have to shut down half the system for an hour every few weeks. And the hospital staff relies on the delivery system so much that people literally scream when it goes down, he says. “Now we’ve got 3 blowers and any blower can pick up any transaction.”
On the rare occasions that St. Vincent’s delivery system has required technical support, Rutherford has found Pevco’s customer service team to be extremely responsive. “The service I get from Pevco has been excellent,” he says. “They’re always right on top of things.”
For St. Vincent’s, having a tube delivery system that can easily expand and grow as the medical center does is crucial. “Built into the Smart Path we’ve got a fourth zone sitting there ready,” explains Rutherford. When it comes time to expand the system again, downtime will be minimal. “We’re talking a matter of hours, not days,” he says.