Storage Systems Unlimited

Author: Natalie Willis

Preventing Drug Diversion, and the Damage It Can Do, Begins With Awareness

Drug diversion, the redirection of prescription medications from their intended purpose, is a major problem that ultimately affects everybody. This unlawful activity (it’s a felony), whether motivated by personal use or financial gain, is costly and dangerous. It takes an enormous toll on the U.S. health system, as well as on both the people receiving care and those providing the care. Everyone in the pharmaceutical chain of custody, from manufacturers to prescribers to clinicians and other healthcare staff, has a responsibility to help prevent diversion. Local, state and federal government and law enforcement agencies also must do their part.

Efforts must begin with awareness of the problem.

For patients, the diversion of drugs, particularly opiates, can result in various bad outcomes. “In every organization, drug diversion is a potential threat to patient safety,” warns The Joint Commission, a nonprofit body that accredits and certifies healthcare organizations in the United States. “Risks to patients include inadequate pain relief and exposure to infectious diseases from contaminated needles and drugs, compounded by potentially unsafe care due to the health care worker’s impaired performance.”

For healthcare workers, diversion may be an act of desperation resulting from their own drug dependence or an attempt to profit financially from their access to narcotics or other controlled substances. The American Nurses Association and the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) have estimated that 10% of nurses may struggle with drug dependence. Nurses aren’t the only ones affected: Addiction strikes workers at all levels, from technicians to top physicians. Drug-dependent healthcare workers pose a threat to themselves and others; in addition to physical harm and even death, they can do irreparable damage to their reputations and careers. The pandemic heightened stress and burnout among healthcare workers, further increasing the motivation and potential for drug diversion.

For healthcare organizations, diversion is not only a legal liability but also a financial drain that costs the industry an estimated $70 billion a year. Diversion at hospitals and other medical facilities can lead to fines, lost Medicare reimbursement eligibility and compromised public trust. Because diversion often goes undetected, however, the true costs—both economically and in terms of medical harm—may never be known. The consequences of supply chain shortages, for example, can be wide-ranging and devastating, affecting every entity in that chain.

The general public pays, too, in the form of higher healthcare costs, including Medicare and Medicaid; risks to public safety; tax money spent on treatment and rehabilitation programs; and other ripple effects.

Storage Systems Unlimited is mindful of its role in the healthcare ecosystem, and privileged to be in a position to help other organizations combat this very real crisis.

Strategies, Tactics and Tools for Combating Drug Diversion

Strategies, tactics and tools for combating drug diversion revolve around accountability, controls and security, tracking and monitoring, education and training, and collaboration among agencies and entities. At every point in the chain of custody, those involved should be aware of their role and the potential repercussions if they fail to fulfill that role.

Efforts at the federal level span multiple agencies, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Diversion Control Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which work with states in various ways. Efforts include reducing improper payments for prescription drugs, identifying providers with high-potential aberrant prescribing patterns, enhancing provider oversight, monitoring pain management clinics, and providing education on best practices.

Prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs), electronic databases that track controlled substances prescriptions in a particular state, can alert health officials to suspicious prescription and patient behaviors. CMS encourages physicians and pharmacists to both update and access PDMPs to identify possible abuse.

Within the hospital setting, operating rooms, emergency departments and anesthesiology departments have been especially prone to drug diversion. But the problem is widespread across departments, specialties, roles and ranks.

Nurses’ vulnerability to drug diversion can be attributed to multiple factors. Everyday job pressures and long shifts can add up to stress, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, and both physical and emotional pain. Easy access to opiates offers a temptation that many can’t resist, and that can quickly become a snowballing problem.

One of the best defenses against drug diversion by nurses is peer awareness. Nurses must be trained not only on how to avoid falling prey to the temptations of narcotics, but also how to recognize signs of drug-impaired or -dependent colleagues. And they must be willing to speak up if they have suspicions about a colleague—to prevent harm and to allow the colleague to receive help if necessary.

Helping Healthcare Organizations Fight Against Drug Diversion

At Storage Systems Unlimited, our offerings include a range of products designed to help healthcare organizations in their fight against drug diversion. For example:

  • Narcotics cabinets. A wall-mounted box can safely secure valuable and potentially harmful medication, enabling precise tracking of inventory and deterring theft. Narcotics cabinet 2801AQ from Harloff is made of heavy-duty 18-gauge steel, with dual door construction; true double locking protection with two high-security pick-resistant tubular locks; four separately keyed locks; and full-length stainless steel pinned door hinges that prevent pin removal.
  • Medication carts. We offer multiple types of carts that can be customized to meet your medication needs. The Avalo ACSDI Bin Cassette Medication Cart from Capsa Healthcare features keyless access with auto-relocking. The EVA Series of computer carts from Simplifi Medical provides medication security and visibility at the bedside with individually locking, patient-specific drawers that can be accessed by scanning the patient ID barcode. Waterloo’s HTK1-33TTT6 key locking cart has a tamper-resistant key locking system.
  • Anesthesia carts. Harloff’s Mini Anesthesia Cart is an electronic locking cart with keypad or proximity access and key lock override, along with drawers that automatically relock after access according to preset or programmed time.

Storage Systems Unlimited is a leading provider of storage solutions for healthcare organizations of all sizes. We offer a multitude of storage products, including carts, shelves, containers and more. We also offer preferred pricing, planning, design, installation and project management for healthcare organization and storage systems. Want to learn more? Contact us at 1-888-614-0004 or request a quote today.

Sustainability Is a Goal We Can All Work Together to Achieve

A glance at our client list offers quick confirmation that Storage Systems Unlimited is committed to helping healthcare organizations provide safe, efficient and effective care to the communities they serve. We have established a track record of excellence, consistency and reliability in offering the best products and services to leading hospitals, health systems and industry purchasing groups.

We also believe wholeheartedly in the importance of a healthy environment—an ideal that is intertwined with our goal of healthy populations. Key to these pursuits is the concept of sustainability.

In 1987, the United Nations’ Brundtland Commission arrived at a definition of sustainability that carries a built-in challenge: “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” While that may sound simple on the surface, a look around shows that we as humans remain far from ensuring that reality. It takes hard work, intentionality and constant awareness of how our actions affect the world around us.

Awareness should permeate our structures, systems and processes, informing our day-to-day actions as well as our long-term decisions. This mindset should help guide, in no particular order (and depending on scope of work), decisions relating to areas including:

  • Products and materials purchased
  • Disposal of materials
  • Reduction of waste and pollution
  • Material reuse and recycling
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Product delivery
  • Compliance with health, safety and environmental regulations

Powerful Partnerships

While Storage Systems is not a manufacturer, we are privileged to work with some of the top manufacturers for the healthcare industry. By distributing their fine products, we are not only providing healthcare organizations with the tools they need to do their jobs to the best of their abilities, but also supporting their sustainability efforts. Here are just a few examples.

  • Pedigo Products, based in Vancouver, Washington, demonstrates its commitment to minimizing its impact on the planet in all it does. Its manufacturing processes emphasize reclamation, recycling and waste reduction. Its plant and offices use skylights to reduce the amount of electricity needed to illuminate the workspace. It uses environmentally friendly packing materials, vegetable-based inks, Forest Stewardship Council-certified mixed-source paper and renewable clean wind power.
  • Akro-Mils’ new Earthsaver™ Series makes its popular AkroBins® and Shelf Bins available in 100% recycled plastic. These products, easy to label for quick inventory identification, are designed to boost productivity in virtually any setting, from healthcare to manufacturing, retail and distribution. Bundled with Akro-Mils’ steel and wire shelving and pick racks, they can create a complete storage and organization system supporting 5S Lean and other initiatives for reducing waste and optimizing productivity.
  • Capsa Healthcare, maker of mobile computing workstations, medical carts and more, has a sustainability strategy that stresses environmental responsibility. Capsa requires all employees and managers to follow established processes aimed at minimal adverse environmental consequence; minimizing waste, pollution, and health and safety risks; and reuse and
  • Metro’s storage and productivity solutions for healthcare, foodservice, science and industrial organizations reflect a commitment to environmentally friendly products and processes. For example, 100% of InterMetro’s North American manufacturing processes using stainless steel wire, tubing and sheet metal are made from recycled stainless steel metal; and 78% of its waste materials are recycled.
  • Quantum Storage offers environmentally friendly Recycled Bins made of high-quality polypropylene recycled from 100% post-consumer products.
  • Simplifi, which specializes in medical carts, employed a “sustainability by design” approach to creating a fleet management strategy with core design principles for modularity, scalability, flexibility, power efficiency, quality, service and cost. A key pillar of this design is the efficiency gained by using battery power as a direct source for DC-powered equipment.
  • Staxi, a leading manufacturer of medical transport chairs, is committed to reducing its carbon footprint. The company has partnered with to offset all of its carbon emissions, from offices to its warehouse, and is also working to offset all carbon emissions resulting from the manufacture, transportation and delivery of its products.

Storage Systems is proud to be a distributor of products from each of these manufacturers.

Doing Our Part

Beyond working with environmentally responsible partners, Storage Systems remains vigilant for ways we can contribute to a more sustainable world. One small way we do so is by bundling orders from multiple manufacturers, when possible, in order to reduce the amount of transport needed to get products to their destination.

Storage Systems Unlimited is a leading provider of storage solutions for healthcare organizations of all sizes. We offer a multitude of storage products, including carts, shelves, containers and more. We also offer preferred pricing, planning, design, installation and project management for healthcare organization and storage systems. Want to learn more? Contact us at 1-888-614-0004 or request a quote today.

Improving Patient Safety With MRI-Compatible Equipment

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology is an indispensable tool because of its ability to provide accurate, non-invasive and detailed imaging of the body. Because MRIs provide better soft tissue contrast than CT scans, these images can help physicians differentiate between fat, water, muscle and other soft tissue. Physicians use MR images to diagnose a variety of conditions and diseases.

Although MRIs are important for medical diagnostics, they are not without their unique challenges and risks. Radiation is not used during the procedure, so there is no risk of exposure during an MRI. However, the MRI machine uses powerful magnets that produce a strong magnetic field. In fact, high-strength clinical MRI scanners are 60,000 times the strength of the Earth’s own ambient magnetic field, according to an article from Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare (PSQH). Because of this, patients with implanted devices, neurostimulators and certain prosthetic devices cannot have an MRI. Additionally, the strong magnetic field can attract magnetic objects found in the MRI suite—items as small as keys and as substantial as oxygen tanks. That is why it is of utmost importance, the Food and Drug Administration says, to carefully screen all people and objects entering the MRI suite to ensure nothing can act as a projectile and cause harm to patients or employees.

At Storage Systems Unlimited, we offer a variety of MRI-compatible equipment—including transport chairs and medical carts—specifically designed to enter the MRI suite. These specialized pieces of equipment are crafted using non-ferrous materials, meaning they remain unaffected by the MRI scanner’s magnetic forces.

Eliminating Complex Transfers With MRI-Compatible Transport Chairs

Efficiency is key in a busy hospital environment. MRI-compatible transport chairs—such as the Staxi-MR Transport Chair—can streamline the process of moving patients to and from the MRI suite. Designed to work within the magnetic environment, the chair eliminates the complex transfers or time-consuming safety checks.

The Staxi-MR Transport Chair has lifting armrests and a lifting footrest for easy side entry and front entry. Wheels are made with an anti-tip design, and the chair is equipped with a never-fail brake. Even better, the Staxi-MR Transport Chair meets the criteria for MR Conditional to an MRI system having a magnetic field strength of up to 3.0 T and a magnetic field gradient of 3K Gauss/cm. MR Conditional refers to a “medical device with demonstrated safety in the MR environment within defined conditions including conditions for the static magnetic field, the time-varying gradient magnetic fields, and the radiofrequency fields,” according to the FDA and the ASTM F2503-20 standards.

The Pediatric Touch: MRI-Compatible Pediatric Carts

Pediatric patients have unique medical needs, and having pediatric carts readily available is crucial. These carts help ensure that your hospital can provide specialized care to children efficiently and safely—and having an MRI-compatible pediatric cart is an even greater advantage.

At Storage Systems Unlimited, we offer the Harloff Aluminum MRI Compatible Pediatric Crash Cart, which is specifically designed for treating pediatric emergencies by using a multicolored drawer labeling system comparable to the Broselow color-coding method. The Broselow system ensures precise medication dosing, equipment selection, and procedures tailored to a child’s specific weight and height. The Harloff cart uses non-magnetic materials such as “low-ferrous, ball-bearing, full extension drawer slides and low-ferrous 5-inch sealed ball-bearing casters,” earning it the designation of MR Conditional by ASTM 52503-20 standards. This color-coded cart, when combined with MRI compatibility, is a valuable asset for hospitals, allowing providers to safely treat young patients within the MRI suite.

MRI-compatible equipment can help keep patients—young and old—and providers safe in the MRI suite. To learn more about our MRI-compatible product offerings, contact us at 1-888-614-0004 or visit to learn more or request a quote.

Healing in Style: Transforming the Healthcare Environment With Woodgrain and Laminate Products

The environment in which patients receive healthcare plays a pivotal role in their overall experience. From the moment they walk through the doors of a hospital or care facility, patients and their family members form impressions that can profoundly impact their well-being, comfort and perception of the quality of care they are about to receive. In today’s healthcare landscape, patient satisfaction scores matter more than ever, making it crucial for healthcare organizations to prioritize every aspect of the patient experience.

In this blog post, we showcase the importance of creating aesthetically pleasing healthcare facilities to enhance patient satisfaction and perceptions of care. Discover how the integration of woodgrain and laminate storage solutions can transform clinical spaces into warm, inviting environments. These versatile products not only add visual appeal but also offer durability, functionality, customization and versatility essential for healthcare facilities.

The Impact of Aesthetics on Patient Well-Being

The healthcare environment has a direct influence on a patient’s recovery and mental state. The traditional clinical and sterile aesthetics of hospitals can exacerbate stress and anxiety in patients. Creating an atmosphere that feels calming, warm and familiar can go a long way in alleviating these negative emotions. Here’s how:

1 | reduce stress and anxiety:

A welcoming and aesthetically pleasing environment can significantly reduce the stress and anxiety often associated with medical procedures and hospital stays. It can promote a sense of comfort and relaxation, contributing to improved patient outcomes.

2 | enhance patient comfort:

Patients who feel comfortable in their surroundings are more likely to have a positive experience during their healthcare journey. Aesthetic elements can contribute to a sense of coziness and familiarity. For example, in the PICU and NICU, medical storage solutions at the bedside are critical because necessary medications and supplies must always be in reach. While functionality is incredibly important in the PICU and NICU, so is comfort for the parents and family members who are there with their newborns. Woodgrain and laminate storage solutions, such as the mobile carts and stationary cabinets available through InnerSpace, add warmth and a touch of comfort to a highly clinical area of the hospital.

3 | better perception of care:

Patients form judgments about the quality of care they will receive based on the appearance and ambience of the healthcare facility. A well-maintained, aesthetically pleasing facility can instill confidence in patients and their families, setting the stage for a positive experience.

Blending Style and Functionality With Woodgrain and Laminate Storage Solutions

Woodgrain and laminate storage solutions can help create an aesthetically pleasing—yet completely functional—healthcare environment. Products made with these materials offer many advantages, including:

1 | durability:

Woodgrain and laminate materials are known for their durability. In a healthcare setting where frequent use and cleaning are necessary, these solutions can withstand the test of time, maintaining their appearance and functionality.

2 | functionality:

Storage solutions are an essential part of any healthcare facility. Woodgrain and laminate options can be customized to meet specific storage needs, providing ample space for medical supplies, patient records and other essentials. Products like lockers and cabinets, such as those provided by InnerSpace, are available with laminate and/or wood compression boards and can be made to look similar to cabinets found at home—yet still be completely functional with shelves and baskets that are easily configured and reconfigured.

3 | customization:

These materials come in a variety of colors, patterns and finishes, allowing healthcare facilities to tailor the design to match their unique aesthetic preferences. Customization enables facilities to create a cohesive and appealing look throughout. CartStrong’s woodgrain bedside cabinets, for example, are available in five finishes and can be customized with electronic and key lock options, exposed or hidden casters, drawer configurations, and optional glides.

4 | versatility:

Woodgrain and laminate solutions can be used in various areas of a healthcare facility, from patient rooms to waiting areas and administrative spaces. Their versatility makes it easy to maintain a cohesive and pleasing design throughout the facility.

A Step in the Right Direction

As healthcare organizations continue to prioritize patient satisfaction and the overall patient experience, investing in aesthetically pleasing environments is a step in the right direction. By choosing woodgrain and laminate storage solutions, healthcare facilities can strike the perfect balance between style and functionality, ensuring that patients and their families feel at ease during their healthcare journey.

Storage Systems Unlimited is a leading provider of storage solutions for healthcare organizations of all sizes. We offer a multitude of woodgrain and laminate storage products, including carts, shelves, containers and more. We also offer preferred pricing, planning, design, installation and project management for healthcare organization and storage systems. Want to learn more? Contact us at 1-888-614-0004 or request a quote today.


Freestanding Emergency Department

How to Get Your Freestanding Emergency Department Up and Running

Freestanding Emergency Department

The number of freestanding emergency departments (ED) or ambulatory care centers is growing rapidly in the United States. In 2019, the U.S. freestanding ED market size was about $3.3 billion, according to Grandview Research. That market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5% to 2027, reaching $5 billion.

Freestanding emergency departments are expanding quickly due to patient demand: With ambulatory centers that are not connected to a full hospital, patients can often access emergency services closer to their homes and with much shorter waiting times compared to traditional hospital emergency rooms. In addition to reducing overcrowding in traditional emergency departments, freestanding EDs may also decrease costs by providing care at a lower reimbursement level than a traditional hospital-based emergency department.

Each state has different regulations governing freestanding emergency centers. In some states, a certificate of need is required before a center can be opened. In some states, a freestanding emergency department must be affiliated with an existing hospital, and in others, there is no such requirement. For hospitals, doctors, business owners and others who have achieved state approval to open a freestanding ED, these three steps are crucial for getting the center up and running effectively.

1 | ENSURE Code compliance.

Compliance with building codes is essential with any new facility, but especially with a freestanding ED. In most cases, these facilities must be compliant with both state and local health department building codes. Because state and local requirements often differ, engineers and architects may need to consult with state and city officials to make sure the building will be compliant.

While it’s easy to assume that freestanding EDs are similar to urgent care centers, the building code requirements typically exceed the requirements for urgent care centers. The requirements often exceed even the code requirements for hospital emergency departments, according to Emergency Physicians Monthly. As a result, it’s important to double-check the requirements for your state and city.

2 | obtain transfer agreements.

A freestanding ED must have partnerships in place in order to succeed. Emergency medical services (EMS) may or may not transport patients to a freestanding center, so ED leaders must work to build relationships and transfer agreements with these providers.

If a freestanding ED is not affiliated with a particular hospital, it will need to work with attorneys to develop a transfer agreement with a nearby hospital. With strong agreements in place with both EMS and hospitals, it will be easy to quickly transport and admit patients who need to be hospitalized after receiving emergency care.

3 | stock your emergency center.

Like any other healthcare facility, a freestanding ambulatory center must be equipped with all the right supplies and equipment to effectively provide patient care. And those supplies must be stored in an organized, convenient way so that providers can quickly access the items they need to handle patient emergencies efficiently.

Choosing the right types of storage can make a difference in the emergency room’s response times and patient satisfaction rates. For example, your freestanding ED may need a variety of carts, such as general procedure carts, crash carts, phlebotomy carts, and procedure and trauma carts. With the right carts in place, providers can take with them all necessary supplies to care for various patients at their bedside.

Aside from movable storage, it’s also important to equip patient rooms with needed supplies and equipment with built-in storage solutions. That may include bin cabinets, bag dispensers and bulk dispensers. When emergency providers encounter patients, they may also need items such as digital scales, exam stools, foot stools, glove dispensers and infection prevention stations in order to adequately and quickly respond to patient needs.

The right types of storage can help prevent the spread of infection and disease, while also allowing providers to offer the care patients need, right when they need it, without having to search for necessary supplies and equipment.

At Storage Systems Unlimited, we have helped many free-standing emergency departments get up and running. We provide all storage-related products for the emergency 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.

Storage Systems Unlimited Helps BrightStone Organize for Success

BrightStone, a nonprofit organization that provides opportunities and solutions to adults with developmental disabilities, sends a newsletter around the Christmas holiday sharing a recap of the year, improvements and expansions to its facility, and a “Wish List” of needed items. When we realized that many of the Wish List items were among our product offerings, we offered BrightStone a donation of $15,000 in storage products.

We visited the inspiring 140-acre campus just south of Franklin, Tennessee, which was recently donated by a family with a student who attends BrightStone’s Center for Learning, Art, and Enterprise. Our initial evaluation was to gather ideas on what would be the most useful items to donate. In addition to the 23,000-square-foot center, the new campus, opened in November 2022, contains two residential teaching homes that are nearing completion. Each 3,900-square-foot teaching home features student bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen, a living room, a storm shelter, a covered entrance, a back porch and a carport. Home teachers will have their own private living quarters, and each adult resident will have a private bedroom and bathroom.

Health and wellness are vital parts of the BrightStone program, which teaches adults skills essential to their personal care—proper hygiene, education about illnesses and how to protect themselves, eating healthy, and proper nutrition. In addition to attending rotating classes throughout the day, BrightStone adults are encouraged to be active. Whether it is attending a field trip to the bowling alley or the park, or official physical education classes, they are often on the move! Twice a week, exercise class also includes therapeutic yoga, which can help increase strength, flexibility, balance and focus. With advances in medicine and treatments, the life expectancy for adults with disabilities is growing longer, creating the need for places like BrightStone to provide care, activities and fun for the students as their primary caretakers age.

Offerings include a music program; a pottery center; a procurement center for the students to prepare and package cookie mix and a variety of teas; and the most popular item, which is hand-drawn Christmas cards made by the students. Several students were able to join us at our 24th annual Fish Fry, where they quickly took over the dance floor!

Our $15,000 donation provided a Storage Systems medical cart for their nurse, a large Harloff cabinet for storage of extra clothing in the nurse station, a partition used to divide a room to create extra classroom space, and two 12-foot Top-Track systems that allow for 30% more storage for the procurement center. The new shelving provides BrightStone with a more efficient and organized way to store the packaged food mixes and teas the nonprofit sells at its campus and with the assistance of local retail partners.

“We are proud to have sponsored the product and the installation of the new storage items at BrightStone,” said Bill Kreager, Chief Revenue Officer of Storage Systems Unlimited. “We believe that our products can help businesses to improve their efficiency and productivity, and we are so glad that we were in a position to lend a hand to an organization like BrightStone. They are building a very special place, and we are happy to be a part of it.”

ABout brightstone

BrightStone is a nonprofit organization that provides opportunities and solutions to adults with developmental disabilities. It offers a variety of services, including employment training, job placement, residential services and day programs. BrightStone is committed to helping its clients achieve their full potential and live independent and fulfilling lives. Learn more about BrightStone here.

ABout storage systems unlimited

Storage Systems Unlimited is a leading provider of storage solutions for businesses of all sizes, including nonprofits. SSU offers a multitude of storage-related products, including wire shelving, cabinets, carts and more. We also offer preferred pricing, planning, design, installation and project management for healthcare organization and storage systems. Want to learn more? Contact us at 1-888-614-0004 or request a quote today.