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Medical Storage Solutions on a Budget

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There’s a lot of talk about data warehousing challenges in the medical sector, but the original hurdle regarding storage remains to be a thorn in the side of clinics and healthcare facilities; where to store supplies. 

In addition to the demand for space-saving and functionally superior solutions, modern practices want aesthetically agreeable wheeled cabinets, carts, shelving, and more. The latter is of particular importance given that patient perceptions of a practice are greatly influenced by a facility’s appearance with respect to being clean and well-organized. Moreover, further research has found that these elements can reduce medical errors in addition to lowering stress levels among staff and patients. A well-kept facility also has direct and positive implications for on-site safety. 

“The evidence-base is emerging to support the business case that designing for safety and quality can improve patient outcomes and safety, promote healing, increase patient satisfaction, and reduce costs.” (National Library of Medicine)

While there is no shortage of medical storage solutions across Canada and the USA, the concluding words of “reduce costs” in the quote above ring true for clinical facilities of all sizes. Like with any service provider, clinics need to optimize storage solutions while balancing a budget. Below is a breakdown of what your facility can do to make that happen with some help from Forsyth Healthcare. 

How to Make the Most of a Modest Budget When Securing Storage Solutions for Your Medical Clinic

Prepare Prior to Requesting an Estimate

If you don’t know exactly what you want and need prior to requesting an estimate, you may receive a quote that is higher than necessary. As a result, you may miss out on an opportunity to secure premium solutions at a reasonable price. 

Get input not just from management, but those who will actually use storage solutions, from clinical procedure and utility carts to closed storage cabinets. Administration, reception, nursing, and physician staff with hands-on experience will contribute to this process and paint a clear picture of your clinic’s needs. This, along with your stated budget limitations, will help us give you the most accurate estimate possible. Communication is everything.

Knowing Where to Cut Corners (and where not to)

Medical Storage Solutions on a Budget - chrome shelving

This is a situational consideration. 

For example, the quality of chrome finish on wire carts and shelving can make a significant difference in price. The type of finish on these units matters more for some scenarios than others. When the unit is kept in a sterile storage area associated with an operating room (OR) or Medical Device Reprocessing (MDR) space the unit must be cleaned more frequently. In this case, a more premium finish is required. In contrast, the type of finish isn’t as critical in a warehouse or other area where inventory is distributed.

Ultimately, deciding where you can and can’t cut corners under a modest budget, circle back to the initial point above. In addition to outlining what hands-on staff needs are, consider where in the clinic carts and units will be used and maintained. 

Considering (or reconsidering) Shipping Costs

Always factor-in shipping costs when determining what may be outside of your modest budget. Shipping costs can often offset price differences. For instance, if a particular cart option is more expensive, it might be shipping from a location that costs less than another. You may think that purchasing a lower-cost (and possibly lower-quality) cart is the right financial decision, but if the shipping cost is higher than it is with the higher-value item, the latter may be the better option. Take nothing at face value in modern times when supply chain issues have altered transport pricing quite drastically.

Pro Tip: when making a final decision, don’t forget to factor in lead time for manufacturing and shipping.

Assembly Required?

Your time (staff and maintenance personnel included) has tangible value. Factor this hourly consideration into your budget for a given unit. Furthermore, consider the cost (damage and liability) of not having a unit assembled to exact specifications in a healthcare environment. When assembly is required, it’s always better to have a trained and efficient team like us do this work. It will ultimately save you in the near and long term.  

Invest Today, Save Tomorrow

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” ― Benjamin Franklin

We know this may sound cliche, but if you invest in higher-quality units today, you will save money in the long run. As an institution with responsibilities to stakeholders (and taxpayers for the public health sector), your facilities’ budget must be forward-thinking. By purchasing lower-priced, lower-quality units for a busy clinic setting (where wear and tear are inevitable), you may have to replace them within a year. Invest today, save tomorrow.

Extra Tidbit

Supply baskets can be a good alternative to plastic shelf bins – The cost of equipping an entire wire shelving unit with plastic bins isn’t often considered, but the cost adds up! There is also the cost of cleaning those bins regularly, which also is overlooked because it is more of a soft cost. There is both a labour cost and opportunity cost to cleaning bins. Those who are doing the cleaning are often clinical staff whose time could then be better focused on other tasks.

Contact Forsyth Healthcare to discuss medical storage solutions as they relate to your budget. We are here to answer any and all questions you may have and will find a solution that works for your clinic’s unique needs.

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