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Last updated: October 27, 2020

Hospital Patient Room Pass-Through Wall Cabinets

pass through medical supply cabinetsNurses, pharmacy technicians, and supply room staff have a crucial role in keeping hospital operations efficient and providing quality care to the patients. However, the environment they work in is often stressful. Nurses are frequently assigned more patients and are often busy running unnecessary errands to access relevant patient supplies from the central supply room. Similarly, supply room technicians spend most of their time managing inventory to ensure ample availability of supplies for nurses and surgeons at any time. These day-to-day activities are not only strenuous but also time-consuming, creating situations that may delay patient care and affect the hospital's bottom line.

Hospitals can squeeze out these wasteful processes by moving nurses and technicians closer to each other. Medical pass-through cabinets help achieve just that. With the ability to access the cabinet from both sides of the wall, both nurses and supply technicians can reduce unnecessary trips to retrieve and manage supplies throughout the day. These storage units are also advantageous for the pharmacy, as they offer better control over medication management and help reduce wastage.

What is a Hospital Patient Room Pass-Through Wall Cabinet?

patient server hospital storage hospital shelvingA hospital patient room pass-through wall cabinet, also known as the medical pass-through cabinet or nurse server, is a cabinet used in healthcare facilities that is accessible from two sides. These cabinets are ideal for storing supplies as well as medications. A typical pass-through cabinet will feature multiple trays that can be configured with adjustable bins, dividers, storage shelves, or drawers. These trays can be pulled from either side of the wall and swapped out of the cabinet with new stocked ones.

These medical pass-through wall cabinets can also be installed with advanced locking mechanisms such as a digital keypad, fingerprint, or RFID to prevent unauthorized access.

Benefits of Pass-Through Wall Cabinets

When installed within the patient room's wall, these storage units offer nurses easy access to supplies when inside the room. In contrast, supply technicians can quickly restock supplies in the cabinet directly from the outside hallway.revit bim models

Nurses no longer require trips to the central supply room to get relevant patient supplies, providing them more time to properly care for patients. Additionally, the cabinet's outside access also prevents the supply staff from entering the patient's room. This facility significantly reduces the risk of Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs) being transmitted by technicians to patients.

Besides, keeping a safe distance between patients and technicians also allows hospitals to maintain isolation protocols effectively and prevent contagious illness from spreading.

Apart from storing supplies, medical pass-through cabinets are equally beneficial for storing medications. Rather than entering the room to stock patient-specific medications, pharmacy technicians can stock the patient's exact medication dose directly from the hallway and reduce the chances of medication errors.

The facility also makes nurses' lives easier as they won't require frequent trips to a centralized medication room. Patient-specific medicines in the correct doses are readily available to them right from inside the patient's room.

Automated Dispensing Cabinets Vs. Pass-Through Cabinets

patient room pass through supply cabinetsHospitals have already adopted the use of Automated Dispensing Cabinets or ADCs to provide nurses timely access to medications near to the point of care. These cabinets also allow hospitals to control and track the distribution of medicines by necessitating nurses to make entries in the software about what medications they took and how many.

However, this process consumes a significant amount of time. Besides, nurses require moving back and forth from each patient's room to ADCs to get specific medicines. To avoid spending time on these errands, nurses are likely to take several medications from the automated dispensing cabinets for multiple patients in a single trip. The chances are that they may even make a mistake when entering medication data into the software or could even completely ignore making entries of multiple medicines. This approach may save time for them but can prove dangerous for patients as there are greater chances of administering wrong medications or wrong drug dosage.

The same situation may prevail in the case of pharmacy technicians. ADCs come with an override feature that permits emergency access that the pharmacy often uses to review drug orders before allowing access to the drug. However, this feature may be misused if there is a longer wait time for the pharmacy to review orders or when the staff lacks proper training to use ADCs. Sometimes, the staff might not be completely aware of when to consider the situation as an 'emergency.' With these workarounds, chances of medication errors are significantly higher. It is even possible that patients might receive drugs that they're allergic to. 

When it comes to patient safety, it reduces the risk of spreading germs, viruses, and hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) that can be transferred when staff members enter patient rooms. It's a perfect solution for hospitals that need to maintain isolation protocols.

Using Automated Dispensing Cabinets for Storing Emergency Medication

ADCs have a vital role to play in ensuring efficient control and distribution of drugs. However, they are most effective when used to store emergency medications instead of bulk medications. Then, medicines specific to patients can be stored in pass-through cabinets in the prescribed quantity to reduce medication errors.

This arrangement also offers pharmacies better control over medication management, ensuring that patients only get their prescribed medicines and no one else's. A pharmacy technician requires loading the pass-through cabinet with prescribed medicines in required quantities outside each patient's room. 

medical patient room pass through cabinetsNurses no longer need to travel distances to the central medication room to access ADCs and retrieve medications. They only have to walk a few steps inside the patient's room to open a pass-through cabinet and collect the correct medicinal supplies. Nurses also get more time to stay with patients and ensure quality care. If the patient is sleeping or has visitors in the room, nurses can also access the cabinet from outside to avoid disturbance.

Besides, storing patient medications within pass-through cabinets also saves time for technicians and lead to reduced wastage. In a single trip, pharmacy technicians can stock medications in each pass-through cabinet located at each patient room wall and then return to the pharmacy for restocking. As a result, pharmacies can easily track who gets what medications and the number of doses, allowing them to timely restock necessary medications and prevent storing unused medications that would otherwise go wasted.

Installing Pass-Through Wall Cabinets: Is It Worth It?

While it is evident that pass-through cabinets contribute significantly to improve the hospital's efficiency, more often, storage space is the last space planned, forcing staff to work within existing constraints. Many hospitals are older and require retrofitting to accommodate cabinets. Ideally, it is recommended to install pass-through cabinets during construction. However, these cabinets can be retrofitted as well.

medical pass through cabinets improve patient careInstallation cost is also one of the major concerns for hospitals looking to invest in patient room pass-through cabinets. Although the amount of value these storage units provide far outweighs its cost.

From offering supply technicians and nurses a better way to stock and retrieve supplies to ensuring better medication management for pharmacies, pass-through cabinets reduce stressful environments for hospital staff. With transparency between nurses and pharmacy technicians, these cabinets improve employee productivity and lead to better satisfaction. 

This investment also leads to better patient care as nurses get more time with patients. The chances of HAIs are also thin since there is minimal need for staff to enter the patient's room. Additionally, the control over drug distribution further reduces the risk of getting the wrong medications for patients. These units also enable hospitals to adhere to isolation protocols to treat patients with contagious diseases.

Together, these benefits significantly influence patient flow processes, leading to better patient outcomes and greater overall healthcare facility operational efficiency.

Providing quality care to patients in the most efficient manner possible is what makes hospitals successful. When lives are at stake, hospitals must also need to take every possible measure to ensure the safety of its patients and their trust in the institution. Even a simple investment like medical pass-through cabinets can make much difference to any hospital's bottom line. If you're looking to maximize your staff's efficiency and reduce patient risk, installing these cabinets at each patient room is undoubtedly a wise decision.

Get Assistance for Pass-Through Wall Cabinet Installation

At Southwest Solutions Group®, we have a team of healthcare specialists who have extensive experience in delivering space-efficient and organized solutions specific to healthcare facilities' needs. Utilize your hospital space efficiently and improve your staff's productivity with an innovative storage system for your hospital. 

Whether you're planning to install pass-through cabinets for your new hospital construction or need to retrofit these cabinets in your existing facility, we have the knowledge and experience to design customized medical pass-through cabinets for your healthcare facility. Contact the professionals at Southwest Solutions Group or give us a call at 1-800-803-1083 to speak with our specialist about pass-through cabinets today! 

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