Storage Systems Unlimited

Category: Planning and Design

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.

Ensuring Patient Safety and Improving Health Outcomes

For hospitals, preventing harm to patients is just as important as improving patients’ symptoms. In high-income countries like the United States, about one in every 10 patients is harmed while receiving hospital care, according to the World Health Organization, and at least 50% of the adverse events causing patient harm are preventable.

In recent years, increasing numbers of hospitals have committed to patient safety in an effort to protect patients and reduce negative health outcomes. Patient safety efforts often involve campaigns to reduce diagnostic errors, unsafe surgical procedures, and infections. But it may come as a surprise that even a hospital’s storage solutions and room layouts can play an outsized role in ensuring patient safety and boosting health outcomes.

Consider three patient safety risks that can be mitigated with appropriate storage solutions and room design.

1 | Medication Errors

 Research suggests that on average, hospitalized patients are exposed to at least one medication error per day, and those errors are both expensive and potentially harmful to patients. Research shows that every year, in the U.S. alone, between 7,000–9,000 people die as a result of a medication error.

Hospitals have worked to prevent medication errors by implementing systems such as electronic prescribing. However, specially designed medication carts can also make a difference in reducing medication errors and improving providers’ efficiency.

When a hospital pharmacy dispenses all prescribed medications to one medication room, there’s an inherent risk that nurses and other healthcare providers may mistakenly get the wrong medication or the wrong dosage for a particular patient. Software-enabled medication carts eliminate this issue: These carts contain storage drawers that are secured with digital locks, only accessible 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 can track who is accessing each drawer, which medications were given and to which patient. This information helps hospitals keep track of every pill, hold providers accountable and keep patients safer.

Storage Systems Unlimited provides a large selection of medication carts that can increase security and reduce errors, improving patient safety and boosting health outcomes.

2 | Documentation Errors

Documentation errors can cause patient injury or even death. For example, when a provider gives a patient treatment or medication and then leaves the room and fails to document their actions, another provider may come in and provide the same treatment again, leading to an overdose. Failure to document treatments, writing illegibly, using the wrong abbreviations and entering information into the wrong chart are all common—and potentially dangerous—documentation errors.

Implementing the use of mobile workstations, however, can help providers improve efficiency and note-taking at the bedside, which can reduce errors. With a mobile workstation, hospital staffers can access patient information, review electronic health records, and enter new data and information right from the patient’s bedside, rather than returning to a stationary computer and having to try to remember everything they did in the patient’s room.

Storage Systems Unlimited provides a wide array of mobile workstations—or workstations on wheels—that can help healthcare professionals boost efficiencies and avoid documentation errors by completing all documentation at the patient’s bedside.

3| Patient Falls

Each year, between 700,000 and 1 million patients suffer falls while in U.S. hospitals, according to the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. These falls may result in fractures, lacerations or internal bleeding, and can lead to increased utilization of the healthcare system.

Most hospitals take a number of precautions to prevent falls, but one of the most effective ways to prevent falls starts with proactive design. Research shows that patient room design can increase stability during ambulation, serving as a fall protection strategy for frail or elderly patients. For example, the design and layout of IVs, toilets, storage cabinets and other fixtures in a patient room can make a difference in preventing or reducing falls, researchers found.

Storage Systems Unlimited offers comprehensive design and planning services that consider all environmental features to reduce and prevent falls in patient rooms. Whether the hospital is a new construction project or undergoing a renovation, Storage Systems is available to participate in initial planning meetings to discuss the project details, timeline, budget and other considerations. Our team will conduct an on-site review of any existing space and products to determine whether any current products can be reused. We take measurements and pictures and make notes, coming back to the customer with CAD plans showing the placement of all planned products in every department included in the project design.

Storage Systems Unlimited provides a multitude of storage-related products to help hospitals improve patient safety. 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.

Creating Functional and Aesthetic Spaces

In developing storage solutions for healthcare facilities, it’s easy to focus only on functionality. Traditionally, the focus has been only on the healthcare professionals who will be using the supplies. However, as the healthcare industry has transformed to become more patient-centric, facility leaders have become increasingly interested in creating spaces that are also aesthetically pleasing and inviting for patients and their families.

As supply chain professionals work to determine storage solutions in the healthcare environment, it’s crucial to focus on creating spaces that satisfy both functional and aesthetic requirements.

Why Function Matters in Healthcare Spaces

A focus on function is important in designing storage solutions because healthcare staffers must be able to easily access the supplies they need when they need them. In addition, supplies must be tracked carefully and replenished regularly.

Functionality involves the layout of the room, the layout and installation of storage products, and the features and benefits of each product selection.

Why Aesthetics Matter in Healthcare Spaces

Aesthetics play an important role in communicating the attention to detail, organization and functionality of any space, and, ultimately, the perception of quality care being delivered.

Studies have shown that well-designed healthcare environments with a home-like feel can help reduce a patient’s anxiety and stress, speed up their recovery time, and provide a sense of well-being. Healthcare facilities focused on aesthetics often attempt to make their environments feel more home-like and less clinical.

How Storage Systems Balances Both Function and Aesthetics

 At Storage Systems Unlimited, we understand the importance of creating spaces that meet both the functional and aesthetic needs of a healthcare facility. Through our planning and design services, we specialize in helping healthcare clients create spaces that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing, meeting the needs of healthcare professionals as well as their patients.

The Planning and Design Process

To launch the planning and design phase, Storage Systems will hold a preliminary meeting with a client to determine the specific needs of the facility. That discussion might include environmental factors such as temperature and humidity; which products will be stored in each area; safety protocols; and needs for sterility, security and inventory tracking. We also discuss whether any current storage solutions can be reused, and how to ensure Joint Commission compliance.

“Storage Systems will always ask if a site visit can be made, or that we be included in design and development meetings,” says Catherine Adkins, project manager at Storage Systems Unlimited. “Our ability to see existing departments allows us to see if existing product can be reused and what current capacities are. We will also ask if an equipment list has been compiled, and if we can have a copy of it.”

After Storage Systems has the drawings or an equipment list, or has made a site visit, we develop a quote for the project. The quote involves selecting recommended storage products for each room or area. “When choosing product for a particular room, we take into consideration the equipment list provided to us, the results of our site visit, how the product will be used and, finally, budgetary restraints,” Adkins says. “Once the quote is complete, we turn it over to our CAD department, which places the product in each room and creates an elevation for each product. We take into consideration all codes that apply to storage products, including ADA, fire codes, OSHA, seismic, and life safety.”

A quote from Storage Systems includes a detailed written quote, architectural drawings and spec sheets to go with each product. Storage Systems is always available for on-site visits to review the quote and drawings, and to make revisions until the client is satisfied with both the quote and the drawings.

Planning and design services aren’t needed just for new facilities; Storage Systems often has the opportunity to work with facilities that are expanding or relocating departments within an existing building. For example, a hospital pharmacy director in Longview, Texas, selected Storage Systems to help relocate the current inpatient pharmacy to another floor in the hospital and expand the space at the same time. The 5,000-square-foot project presented several hurdles based on the existing structure and layout of the planned expansion space, but Storage Systems was able to help the department with both technology and workflow changes to increase efficiencies and safety, including customizing products and creating products that would work around existing facility infrastructure beams.

The pharmacy director selected Storage Systems because of its customer service responsiveness and cost. “We gave a tour of the new pharmacy to our executive management and board members and a repetitive remark was made about the units Storage Systems built for us and how well they looked,” he says.

Storage Systems Unlimited provides all 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.