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In a first-of-its-kind system in any State government hospital or medical university, a system powered by vacuum is being installed at Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) in Hyderabad, which can be used to transport samples from any part of the institute to diagnostic services departments at six meters per second speed. This helps to cut down the time it takes to carry samples from one block to another.

Manual to automatic
Currently, staff carries blood, urine, tissue or other samples meant for diagnostic tests. Since NIMS has several blocks separated by a distance, manually carrying the samples from one block to another is a time taking process.

With ‘Pneumatic Tube Sample Transfer System’, sample shoot stations would be placed at 46 locations of the institute, covering all blocks, Intensive Care Units (ICU) and Operation Theatres complexes. Each of the stations will be designated a code or a number.

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After collecting samples from patients in tubes or containers, it has to be placed in a capsule which has slots for tubes, containers. The air-tight capsules, which have Radio Frequency Identification tag, have to be placed in the stations and the code or number has to be pressed. Blower units would create vacuum and pressure which would transport the samples to the intended department.

The biochemistry, pathology and microbiology departments are located on the fifth floor of Millennium Block. A station to receive all samples will be established there. After collecting the samples from the receiving station, they will be handed over to the department concerned.

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Installation under way
The system was explained to Health Minister Eatala Rajender, who inaugurated the laboratories and equipment at the institute on Monday.

It is learnt that installation of the sample shoot system in Millennium Block and Old Block is nearing completion. The system connecting the two blocks might be inaugurated by end of the month. It will be installed in remaining blocks gradually.

Doctors said the system will be of great help as anywhere between 800 to 1,000 patients visit the institute for lab tests with each giving two to four samples.

Apart from blood, urine and small tissue samples, even blood packets weighing up to 5 kg can be transported using the system.

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Emergency cases
If any of the samples have to be sent on an emergency basis, a code is provided which stops all other samples and creates green channel for the sample to be tested immediately. Mechanisms to clean in case of spilling of samples inside the tubes and to push capsules which are stuck inside tubes will be established.

Although such systems exist at a few corporate hospitals, it is not complicated as the corporate hospitals are located in vertical buildings. At NIMS, the blocks are located at a distance and an underground system will be established to connect the tubes. #khabarLive

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