Medical Storage Solutions on a Budget


There’s a lot of talk about data warehousing challenges in the medical sector, but the original hurdle regarding storage remains 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 visually appealing wheeled cabinets, carts, shelving, and more. Aesthetics are of particular importance given that patient perceptions of a practice are greatly influenced by a facility’s appearance in terms of being clean and well-organized. There’s also research that has found that these elements can reduce medical errors, and lower stress levels for 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)

The concluding words of “reduce costs” in the quote above ring true for clinical facilities of all sizes across Canada and the USA. Just like any other service provider, clinics need to optimize storage solutions while balancing a budget. Here’s 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 before seeking an  estimate, there’s a good chance you’ll receive a higher quote than necessary. This could mean missing out on the chance to land premium solutions at a reasonable price. 

We’re big advocates of getting 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 can contribute to this process by painting a clear picture of your clinic’s needs. This, along with any budget limitations, will help us give you the most accurate estimate possible. Like in life, 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 have a big impact on 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. On the other hand, this type of finish isn’t as critical in a warehouse where inventory is distributed.

Ultimately, when deciding where you can and can’t cut corners, 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 include shipping costs when determining what may be outside your modest budget, especially given that they can often offset price differences. For instance, if a particular cart option is more expensive, it might be shipping from a relatively lower-cost location. 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 way to go. We live in a world where supply chain issues have drastically altered transport pricing, so take nothing at face value.

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

Assembly Required?

Your time -and that of your staff and maintenance personnel- has tangible value, so make sure to always factor hourly considerations into your budget. Taking it just a little bit further, consider the cost (damage and liability) of not having a unit assembled to the 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, and simply put, it’ll make things easier for you.

Invest Today, Save Tomorrow

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

This might be cliche, but investing in higher-quality units today means saving 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 well end up replacing  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’s also the often overlooked cost of cleaning those bins regularly both in terms of labour cost and opportunity cost to cleaning them. 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’re always ready to answer any and all questions you may have, and love finding  solutions that work for your clinic’s unique needs.

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