High Density Storage Systems – Why Everyone Hates them in Healthcare


High density (or capacity) track systems purport to offer a secure movable environment for various items ranging from files, supplies, materials, products and everything in between. Proponents commonly state that these systems can double capacity in the same amount of space. While track systems do a good job of maximizing shelf space, they often do little to increase efficiency, improve staff satisfaction and improve a facility’s bottom line. In fact, nearly everyone in healthcare who has to interact with these track systems hates them.

If you’re a procurement officer or manager for a hospital, private clinic or other healthcare facility and you’ve been solicited to invest in high density track storage systems for your supplies and materials, please read ahead.

4 Reasons Why Your Medical Facility Should Avoid High Density Storage Systems and Choose More Efficient Healthcare Storage and Cart Solutions

1. Density Poorly Defined … Or Designed

Marketing for HD track systems centre around increases in storage space. When it comes to medical supplies, a better definition of high density would be how much inventory can you fit in this space. It is common knowledge that the large majority of medical supplies do not fit well on a standard, flat shelf. Shelving that is designed to better fit your inventory can have an equal or greater impact.

Don’t let semantics get in the way of making the right investment for your facility. Instead, seek to increase density by assessing storage and identifying areas of inefficiency. The right supplier can often increase storage capacity anywhere from 15-40% within the same footprint as a high capacity track system. For example, this can be accomplished via shelf types that are an appropriate fit for inventory and even optimizing heights between shelves.

2. Not Ideal For Quick Access.

Immediate access to supplies and materials is important in medical environments, especially in departments such as operating room supply and emergency. Time is critical to patient outcomes. While HD track systems excel in creating a lot of shelf area, they also create inefficiencies for staff and their workflows. Individual shelf units may need to be moved multiple times in order to identify and access supplies. Aisle spaces often need to be shared or split into smaller, less efficient widths. High density track systems may have lots of room but leave too much room for complications.

3. Risk of Injury.

All too often, we see track runs that have been designed poorly. Whether they are too long with too many shelf units to move, do not create enough aisle space or have shelf units that are too heavy to move; these factors all contribute to an unnecessary increase in risk of injury. When you consider the current environment of staff shortages, the need to minimize the risk of injury is amplified.

4. Substantial Costs.

High density floor track systems come with extra costs to create level floor tracking or to accommodate their gear mechanisms (that also require maintenance or can be costly to fix). As the preferred alternative, top track systems are more cost-effective and easier to implement. 

There is also the human cost to consider. Beyond the injury risk, for every minute someone is searching for a product in an OR core supply room, there’s likely a surgical team and patient on an operating table waiting. 

You now know what not to invest in when it comes to your healthcare facility’s storage and cart needs. Consider proceeding with a system that is more suited or even customized to your unique needs. Contact Forsyth Healthcare today to discuss products, configurations, prices, shipping, and added service. We have provided ISO-certified storage solutions for some of the largest hospital facilities in Canada.

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