We know all too well that clinical storage is far from one-size-fits-all. According to the AAFP, the size of a medical clinic facility is 1,200 to 1,500 square feet for one physician, followed by an additional 1,000 to 1,200 square feet for each additional physician. Even if your clinic lands on the more expansive side of things, it’s far from a hospital when it comes to storage.
Let’s say that you’ve been tasked with optimizing a small clinical setting to improve productivity and patient outcomes. But what does this scenario look like? How can you resource and reconfigure a storage area to:
- Help your staff spend more time on care?
- Free up accessible space for staff to flow freely with the equipment needed to provide care?
Here’s what to consider when procuring storage solutions for your healthcare clinic.
7 Key Requirements to Cover When Procuring Products to Optimize Your Healthcare Clinic’s Storage
I. Facilitates a Clean and Sterile Environment
Quick win: Limit staff cleaning duties by investing in units that innately promote sterile environments in a clinic setting.
A great example is medical wire shelving. Chrome wire shelving is cost-effective and meets all CSA requirements around storing clean and sterile supplies.
Another example is polymer wire shelving. Unlike traditional wire shelving, plastic polymer carts have no sharp wire ends or burrs from welds. This makes them ideal for storing wrapped sterile items that if torn, would no longer be deemed sterile, and need to be reprocessed. If you’re not particularly concerned about tears, stainless steel shelving is ideal, as it’s antimicrobial and easy to clean due to its self-healing properties. Self-healing? Stainless steel has a passive layer (only a few atoms thick) that, when scratched or damaged, instantaneously reforms under the influence of oxygen from air or water.
II. Works with Limited Space
As we mentioned above, clinical storage solutions must consider square-footage limitations. Premium options made available in Canada (through Forsyth Healthcare) include:
- Wire shelving units: most popular option for private clinics.
- Polymer shelving units: appropriate for tear (supply) and corrosion (environment) resistance.
- High-density shelving units: appropriate for high-capacity needs with limited space.
- Supply basket shelving units: appropriate for when supplies must be immediately accessible to staff.
Private clinics with limited space also benefit from the integration of wall cabinets. These charting and documentation storage innovations are built-in to the walls, and free up precious floor space. Wall cabinets are also a go-to solution for acute care clinical settings (hospital wards and floors). They can sneakily double as a work surface when you open the cabinet doors.
III. Consolidates Small Items Too
Clinics require storage within storage. Since small items do not fit well on a standard wire shelf by themselves, they should be organized in storage containers and dispensers like i) dividable storage boxes, ii) small storage bins, and iii) tip-out bins, in addition to iv) storage and dispenser solutions for personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies. Alternatively, supply basket shelving units might be better for your practice as they offer high capacity, great visibility and access to supplies without the need for storage containers like plastic bins.
Pro Tip: Save space and create density by effectively storing smaller supplies rather than adding shelf space. Our philosophy is always to fit the shelving to the inventory, not the other way around.
IV. Provides Security
Your storage solution should provide a high level of security, especially when it comes to medicines, drugs, and hard copies of patient records. Enclosed supply cabinets provide high-density, mobile (more on this below) and adaptable solutions for secure inventory management of expensive or sensitive supplies.
V. Offers Mobility for Critical Supplies
Even in private clinics, urgent or emergency scenarios arise where staff don’t have the time to gather important equipment and supplies (medicines, etc.) from storage (bins, drawers, shelves, etc.) and place them on carts for quick transport to a patient within the clinic. Every second counts. For critical equipment and supplies that may be needed for emergencies, ensure that they’re stored in a mobile unit that allows attending staff to grab it and efficiently transport it for patient care. For example, our medication management carts allow your clinic to store and deliver medication, and our mobile supply and transport carts enable your staff to store essential items in small, adaptable, and movable vessels. For those situations where staff need to leave a cart in a temporary location consider cart covers to ensure that stored contents are protected.
- Mobile carts offer any facility the ability to reconfigure a storage space easily as needs change.
- Mobile units also increase cleaning effectiveness and efficiency because they can be moved.
- Private clinics, even urgent care clinics, will usually have what they call a “bedside cart” in each treatment room. These are perfect for storing common supplies and are convenient for the clinician or staff member.
- Cart covers can be an economical way of keeping supplies out of sight in common areas.
VI. Considers Potential for Cold Storage.
Cold storage isn’t just for materials and medicines in research facilities, laboratories, and pharmaceutical settings; it can also be beneficial in a private clinic. For far too long, private clinics have used domestic and/or bar refrigerators to store certain supplies. However, the focus on vaccine integrity over the last few years has brought cold storage considerations top of mind in the clinical storage solution discussion. As a clinic, switching from domestic/commercial refrigerators and freezers to premium options that are more appropriate to the medical environment can be a game-changer. Clinical refrigeration provides medical-grade temperature range controls. Forsyth Healthcare has your clinic, staff, and applicable supplies covered through:
VII. Customizable (Fit Storage to your Inventory)
At Forsyth Healthcare, we believe storage solutions should be customized to a clinic’s unique needs. Customization involves not only a combined system of storage types (i.e., wire shelving units used together with polymer shelving units, etc.) but also brands. Forsyth Healthcare works with multiple brands in each product category to ensure that our customers and clients have access to exactly what their staff requires within the constraints of their budgets. This may mean “going premium” with one type of storage unit while being able to accept more economical options for certain supplies and spaces.
Managing private clinic storage spaces can be challenging thanks to limited storage space and budget constraints, among daily challenges. Forsyth Healthcare is here to help you and your staff navigate these challenges with ease, through custom solutions that are unique to your environment. Contact us today for a consultation and experience the Forsyth difference.