Storage Systems Unlimited

Author: Courtney Wainner

4 Ways Better Storage Solutions Improve Patient Care

The patient is the most important person in the healthcare environment, and successful hospitals and healthcare providers consistently look for ways to improve patient care. While medical supply storage may not intuitively seem like an important issue for patient care, the right storage solutions actually can improve the patient experience.

Consider four important ways that better storage solutions can help providers and clinicians deliver better patient care.

1 | Clinicians can easily access needed supplies

When supplies are organized well and stored in close proximity to where they will be used, clinicians can quickly and easily retrieve them when necessary. This can reduce wait times for patients and drive more immediate patient care.

For example, when all medical supplies are kept in a storage room or supply closet on the hospital floor, nurses and other clinicians must constantly spend time returning to the supply closet, locating the needed supplies, and transporting them to patient rooms. However, with a stocked and organized supply cart, nurses can bring needed supplies with them from room to room, providing care as needed with supplies on hand. As a result, nurses can provide care for more patients in less time, improving the patient experience.

2 | Sterile storage solutions protect patient safety

Healthcare-associated infections (HAI), infections that patients acquire in a hospital, are one of the greatest threats to patient safety. Every year, the U.S. healthcare system records more than 1 million HAIs, leading to tens of thousands of lives lost and billions of dollars in costs, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

While cleaning, disinfecting and sterilizing medical supplies and equipment is important for preventing HAIs, it’s also important to store sterilized supplies and equipment in a way that keeps them clean and sterile. For example, the CDC recommends avoiding the storage of medical and surgical supplies under sinks or in other locations where they can become wet. Closed or covered cabinets are the best way to store sterilized materials, but open shelving can also be used, as long as sterile supplies are stored at least 8-10 inches from the floor, 5 inches from the ceiling, and at least 2 inches from outside walls to allow for air circulation and easier cleaning.

In fact, the way that sterile supplies are stored plays an outsized role in how long the items can be useful for patient care, according to the CDC.

3 | Proper storage reduces the potential for medical errors or mistakes

Unfortunately, medication errors are common in hospitals, and in the U.S., between 7,000 and 9,000 people die as the result of errors in dispensing medication each year, according to research. However, using storage solutions such as medication carts with efficiently organized supplies can help reduce the potential for medical errors or medication mistakes.

Traditionally, a hospital pharmacy might dispense all prescribed medications to one medication room. But that system comes with inherent risk that nurses and other providers may accidentally pick up the wrong medication or the wrong dosage for a particular patient.

Today, software-enabled medication carts make it possible to eliminate this issue. These carts contain storage drawers that are secured with digital locks, accessible only by authorized users. The correct, prescribed medicines for each patient can be dosed appropriately and securely loaded into the cart. With integrated software, the carts track who accesses each drawer, which medications are removed and for which patient. All this automated information helps hospitals track every pill, hold providers accountable and keep patients safer.

4 | Patient data remains secure

The business of healthcare demands attention to privacy and security for patient data, and the right storage solutions can help provide that. For example, modern bedside storage carts for medication and patient charts include security details, such as pushbutton, key or radio frequency identification (RFID) locks. Some bedside carts are equipped with multiple alarms, which can be transmitted as both audible alerts and email/text notifications.

While most medical records are digitized, hospitals still use physical documents that need to be stored in secure environments to protect the confidentiality of patient data. For these physical documents, secure storage with organized filing systems are necessary for clinicians to locate needed information.

Paying attention to proper storage can help hospitals and clinicians provide better patient care and improved patient experiences.

Materials Matter: Why Polymer Plastic is a Smart Choice for Healthcare Storage

In healthcare facilities and medical environments, a focus on storage solutions is important for several reasons. Proper storage of medical supplies and equipment is essential for patient safety—if supplies and equipment are not stored correctly, they can become damaged or contaminated, which can pose an infection risk to patients. Storing medical supplies and equipment in a hygienic and organized manner can help prevent the spread of bacteria and other pathogens.

The materials used can be an important factor. In choosing storage solutions, healthcare organizations must consider factors such as ease of cleaning and disinfection, durability, safety, functionality, and cost.

Medical plastic is designed to be temperature, chemical and corrosion resistant. It must handle frequent sterilization cycles and any other medical or bodily fluids it could be exposed to. Medical grade polypropylene and medical grade polycarbonate are two common polymers used in several applications, including bins and containers, shelving, and medical carts.

When considering bins and containers for shelving units, polymer plastic is a popular choice. One reason is that polymer bins and containers are easier to clean. Polymer plastics are nonporous, meaning they cannot absorb liquids or other substances, thus making them a more hygienic option.

In addition, unlike wire, which can rust and become damaged over time, polymer plastics can withstand repeated use and exposure to chemicals, which reduces the need for frequent replacements.

 Polymer plastic bins and containers can be designed with a range of features, such as lids and dividers, to help organize medical equipment and supplies.


Plastic shelving can help sterile processing departments maintain a clean environment and also provide a safer design for the storage of packs. Wire shelving units often have a front lip that can rip sterile packs and wrapped trays. However, polymer shelving has a smooth front that offers better protection. A ripped pack is immediately unsterile and requires reprocessing, which can become expensive for the sterile processing department and impact other areas of the hospital, especially if it leads to delays in the operating room.

Medical Carts

When selecting a cart for your healthcare facility, choose one that will help support your organization’s cleaning process—like a cart with built-in antimicrobial product protection. Carts made with polymer plastic provide corrosion resistance and help to maintain a smooth aesthetic finish for the life of the product. Many Metro® products including Flexline®, Starsys® and Lifeline® carts feature Microban® antimicrobial product protection.

Storage Systems Unlimited is your one-stop shop for polymer storage options. Need more guidance on selecting the right product for your hospital or department? We can help assess your needs and answer your questions. Contact us at 1-888-614-0004 or click here to request a quote.

How Sterile Storage Options Keep Medical Supplies Safe

One of the greatest threats to patient safety is healthcare-associated infections (HAIs)—an infection that patients get in a healthcare facility. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that, on any given day, about 1 in 31 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection. Every year, more than 1 million HAIs occur in the U.S. healthcare system, leading to tens of thousands of lives lost and costing billions of dollars.

High-quality cleaning, disinfection and sterilization of all medical supplies and equipment is one way to prevent HAIs—but healthcare organizations must also ensure that sterilized supplies and equipment are stored in a way that keeps them clean and sterile.

Research suggests that proper sterilization, packaging and storage can keep supplies and products sterile for long periods of time or even indefinitely. The CDC’s Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities (2008) says that “the shelf life of a packaged sterile item depends on the quality of the wrapper, the storage conditions, the conditions during transport, the amount of handling, and other events (moisture) that compromise the integrity of the package. If event-related storage of sterile items is used, then packaged sterile items can be used indefinitely unless the packaging is compromised.”

Furthermore, the CDC recommends, medical and surgical supplies should not be stored under sinks or in other locations where they can become wet. While closed or covered cabinets are an ideal storage solution, open shelving can also be used—as long as sterile supplies are stored at least 8–10 inches from the floor, 5 inches from the ceiling (unless near a sprinkler head, then 18 inches away), and at least 2 inches from outside walls to allow for air circulation and easier cleaning.


Sterile storage solutions can be a challenge for healthcare organizations that are already strapped for space. At Storage Systems Unlimited, we offer a variety of stainless steel products and storage solutions to help maximize space and efficiency and keep sterilized products safe for use.


When patients are in the operating room, they are at a high risk for infection. Keeping products clean and sterile until they are ready for use is critical. Stainless steel operating room cabinets don’t retain moisture and can be sanitized often, while keeping the sterilized products inside safe for use. Storage Systems Unlimited offers a variety of operating room cabinets made of stainless steel and with glass doors, which help employees see what is inside without frequently opening and closing the doors.

2 | Endoscopy Cabinets

Endoscope-associated infections are a common type of HAI. In 2021, the American Journal of Gastroenterology issued an analysis of studies published from 2010 to 2020 that revealed nearly 20% of reprocessed patient-ready gastrointestinal endoscopes may be contaminated with microorganisms. That’s why it is so important to store reprocessed endoscopes correctly. Storage Systems Unlimited offers several models of endoscope cabinets, including Harloff’s scope cabinet, which holds 14 scopes and features a HEPA filter, two high-volume intake fans and one exhaust fan, and an easy-to-clean removable drip tray.

3| Case Carts

Case carts “help to safeguard the sterile integrity of surgical instruments and supplies until they’re ready for use in a procedure,” according to an article in Outpatient Surgery Magazine. When sterilized items are needed in the operating room or other area of the hospital, employees can transport them in the case cart to reduce the number of times the items are handled and avoid damaging packaging.

4 | Stainless Steel Work Tables

When it comes to work tables, stainless steel is the safest choice. It is nonporous, meaning germs and bacteria can’t settle on the table. Storage Systems Unlimited offers several stainless steel work tables that can be used as prep and pack tables for the sterile processing department. Blickman’s work tables (available through Storage Systems Unlimited) are 34 inches tall, designed to reduce back stress for employees.

Storage Systems Unlimited is your one-stop shop for storage solutions for sterilized medical instruments and devices. Need more guidance on selecting the right storage solutions for your hospital or department? We can help assess your needs and answer your questions. Contact us at 1-888-614-0004 or request a quote here.

Help Pharmacy Employees Work More Safely, Efficiently With Better Storage Solutions

Female pharmacist organizing medications

Today’s pharmacies—whether inpatient, outpatient or free-standing—must be more diligent than ever in doing their part to ensure patient safety. Among the challenges are increased regulatory burdens at the federal and state levels, particularly around the need for improved controlled-substance outcomes and drug compounding safety.

The right storage solutions are an essential part of the equation, helping pharmacy employees be more organized and streamlining their workflows. Medications can be stored, prepared, displayed and transported in a way that optimizes limited space, enabling staff to do their jobs as effectively and efficiently as possible while avoiding:

  • Mistakes that could harm patients, such as administering the wrong medication
  • Harm to pharmacy or healthcare staff from exposure to hazardous drugs
  • Exposure of medications to improper temperatures, sunlight, contamination or other environmental conditions that can make them unsafe or reduce their effectiveness
  • Wasting of valuable supplies
  • Wasting of staff time by making it difficult for them to locate and dispense medications
  • Wasted space through inefficient storage

Meeting Requirements and Recommendations

The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established requirements for the storage and handling of prescription drugs. Among other requirements, prescription drugs must “be maintained in a clean and orderly condition” and “be free from infestation by insects, rodents, birds or vermin of any kind.”

In addition, the independent, scientific nonprofit U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) has developed standards, recommendations and processes aimed at protecting patient safety and strengthening the global supply chain for medicines. New sets of guidelines are scheduled to take effect this year. USP 797 is designed to ensure accuracy and avoid contamination of sterile products, and USP 800 covers the handling of hazardous drugs.

Responsibilities under USP 797 and USP 800, set to go live November 1, 2023, include providing the proper environment for the compounding of medications that must be sterile, helping reduce risks such as contamination, infection and incorrect dosing. There are specific requirements for an anteroom, or transition area, leading into the room where drug compounding will take place. This room, where employees wash their hands and put on personal protective equipment (PPE), must meet special air filtration standards.

Modernizing and Improving Your Pharmacy

The intensified focus on “clean room” techniques and technologies has forced pharmacies to undertake modernization and improvement efforts that make stainless steel tables, shelving and worktables attractive. Stainless steel is durable, resistant to corrosion, and easy to clean and maintain.

Polypropylene, used in many pharmacy bins, is attractive because it is strong, flexible, impermeable to water and humidity, resistant to mold and other fungi, and chemically and biologically inert.

Easy access and clear visibility enhance pharmacy staff’s ability to store and locate medications and supplies, take inventory, and quickly and safely fill orders. Wire shelving, made of stainless steel, galvanized steel or chrome, is a popular option for meeting these needs.

Storage Systems Unlimited carries a wide range of solutions for the modern pharmacy, allowing you to customize work areas and storage units to fit your workflow.

  • Workstations: From picking stations and order entry to bulk storage and clean rooms, workstations with smart design increase workflow and productivity.
  • Bins and bin storage: Sleek, modern designs offer maximum visibility of medications and supplies, whether they are stacked or hung. Optional lids and dividers can aid in organizing.
  • Cabinets: Wall-mounted narcotics boxes keep valuable and potentially harmful medications safely locked up, allowing for precise tracking of inventory and guarding against theft. Cabinets can be stacked up to three high, increasing storage capacity.
  • Wall systems: PPE organizers and dispensers simplify storage of gloves, masks, caps, jumpsuits and other sterile apparel as well as biohazard bags and other supplies.
  • Mobile solutions: Utility carts made of heavy-duty polymer, plastic or other material enable the safe and efficient transportation of pharmaceutical and other supplies throughout a facility.

Storage Systems Unlimited is your one-stop shop for pharmacy products used to store, prepare, transport and dispense medication. Storage Systems can help you design and plan pharmacy renovations and product additions to create fully integrated medication storage solutions. In addition to offering competitive pricing on thousands of products, we install everything we sell, including wire shelving and storage, workstations, bins and bin storage, wall systems, cabinets and medication carts. Because of the custom nature of products available for pharmacy environments, please call us at 888-614-0004 to discuss your pharmacy storage needs.

8 Characteristics to Look for in a Bedside Cart

The influential Canadian-born physician Sir William Osler (1849–1918) understood the importance of “bedside manner.” Osler, who as a founding physician of Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Hospital introduced bedside clinical training for medical students, knew that the best doctors excel at both the clinical and the humane sides of their profession. In his words, “The practice of medicine is an art, based on science.”

While much has changed since the days of Sir William Osler, the fundamental human need for clinically sound, compassionate healthcare remains a constant. And today’s clinicians have access to a continuously growing arsenal of tools that help them be at their best for their patients. Among those essential tools are bedside carts, also known as point-of-care carts.

Bedside carts come in a variety of designs, functionalities and sizes to meet the full range of clinical needs across hospitals, surgery centers and clinics. The “right one for the job” depends on the setting and the need, but it should facilitate the timely, effective and efficient delivery of healthcare services. With that in mind, here are eight characteristics to look for in a bedside cart.

1 | Mobility

The point of a cart is its ability to be moved quickly from one location to another, enabling doctors and nurses to carry with them the equipment or medications they need to care for a given patient. Ease of transport is essential, and features such as premium wheels and casters for braking, tracking and swiveling make this possible.

2 | Functionality

Where will the cart be used? What types of doctors or other clinicians will be using it, and for what kinds of care? Does the cart need to be able to house a computer? In some cases, versatility might be an asset, while other circumstances call for more specialized applications. Departmental leaders should have a fairly clear idea of their greatest needs and what functions might make the most sense for their bedside carts to fill.

3| Customizability

Buying “off the rack” isn’t always a good idea, and it isn’t necessary when many carts can be configured to meet a department’s specific needs. Custom features include size and number of drawers, lock type, color and accessories. Accessories can include IV poles, sharps container holders, defibrillator shelves, cardiac boards, oxygen tank holders, catheter holders, glove dispensers and waste containers.

4| Accessibility

The clinicians who will be using the cart should be able to gain access to it and its contents—including information—with as little friction and frustration as possible. Those who won’t, on the other hand, should be deterred from unauthorized access.

5| Efficiency

Simply put: Does it enable clinicians to do their jobs effectively without wasting valuable time? Having the necessary medical equipment, technologies, medications, supplies, information and electrical power readily available in one portable unit cuts down on extra trips across the department or hospital.

6| Safety and security

Protecting patients (and their personal information) and limiting risk are essential to the healthcare mission. Depending on your specific needs, choose from pushbutton, key or radio frequency identification (RFID) locks. Some bedside carts are equipped with multiple alarms, which can be transmitted as both audible alert and email/text notifications.

7| Durability

A busy bedside cart racks up a lot of miles and should be built to go the distance. That means sturdy construction and stability; some carts have built-in stabilizer systems to prevent tipping.

8| Convenience

Carts should be easy to access, store, clean and disinfect. They shouldn’t take up more space than they have to, and they should make clinicians’ jobs easier—not give them something else to worry about.

Possession of the right tools, including carts, will enhance the ability of your clinicians to deliver outstanding healthcare while exhibiting an empathetic bedside manner. At Storage Systems Unlimited, we offer a wide array of bedside carts from manufacturers including Waterloo, InterMetro, TouchPoint Medical, Capsa Healthcare and Detecto.

Need more guidance on selecting the right bedside carts for your hospital or department? We are happy to help you assess your needs and answer your questions. Storage Systems Unlimited provides bedside carts and storage-related products for every department with a choice of multiple manufacturers. We also offer preferred pricing, planning, design, installation and project management for healthcare organization and storage systems. Contact us at 1-888-614-0004 or visit to learn more or request a quote.