Improving Sterile Supply Storage in the OR
An army hospital needed to improve many aspects of its sterile supply storage. To solve the problems, mobile storage systems were incorporated into the hospital’s operating room (OR) areas to replace wire racks and carts. In addition to saving space, the hospital attained better organization, faster retrievals, and optimal accountability by using the mobile storage systems for sterile supply storage.
Problems in the OR Sterile Supply Storage Areas
The OR was remodeling and used four powered electric mobile storage systems in an effort to modernize its services and expand its storage space. Sterile supplies are located outside the OR suite, in the semi-clean area and within the core of the OR next to the procedure rooms. Before the hospital added the mobile systems, all of the areas were tight on space and needed better organization.
The hospital was using a wire rack system attached to overhead tracks and wire carts in many of the supply rooms; however, the racks and carts were not space-efficient. The overhead tracks made it hard to move around the wire racks, and they didn’t offer any flexibility in shelf design. Material slid around on the shelves and it was time-consuming to locate and inventory items.
Another key concern was the difficulty to maintain the integrity of the sterile inventory. Things would get caught and damaged on the wire ends and it was a major effort to clean the inventory area because the open wire shelves allowed dust to fall freely onto all of the sterile items.
How the Mobile Storage Systems Solved the Problems
The mobile storage systems, with specially designed bins, more than doubled the space in the OR storage areas because the aisles were eliminated. Also, the shelves were specifically designed to fit the stored items so there is no wasted space between shelves or behind items.
The department’s bulk sterile supply area, located just outside the OR suite, stores all on-hand inventory for the OR area. The powered mobile storage system replaced 14 wire carts and more than 300 plastic totes. Up to two months’ supply of more than 200 items is kept on hand, a significant increase over inventories in the past. The mobile storage system has made the area more efficient so incoming shipments can be quickly put away and daily case cart retrievals are quick.
Inside the OR, in the semi-clean area next to sterile processing, a mobile system stores linens, miscellaneous medical supply items and extra instrument sets. Previously, the OR had a linen cart system and personnel had to search carts for the items they needed; whereas, with the mobile system, laundry staff now unbundles linens and places them on the shelves in assigned locations.
Inside the core area of the OR, there is a mobile system for storing sterile instrument sets and another for sutures. Although space is at a premium in the OR, it is important to have items on hand in the core in case someone needs a replacement instrument or supply item. Time is critical when a patient is under anesthesia, and wasting time searching for supplies is not something you want to do. The mobile systems have allowed the hospital to keep more items on hand and be more efficient.
Contact Us for Mobile Storage Systems in Your Hospital
Southwest Solutions Group® provides design and installation services for mobile storage systems. SSG will even provide a free consultation to determine your exact needs before the design process begins. To learn more or to speak with a specialist, call us at 1-800-803-1083 or send us a message today.