When every second counts: hospital operating room storage

Operating room core incorporates compact systems for storing surgical supplies and equipment.

“W e had been using wire racks to store items and people were having a difficult time working with them,” said Paul McGuire, manager of surgical services. “They had a tendency to tear holes in supplies and they didn’t provide a neat, organized appearance to the storage area.”

McGuire said that the old wire carts were also inefficient on space utilization. There was wasted space between and in front of carts, as well as unutilized space between shelves. It was difficult to store small instruments and when items were stacked high to better utilize shelf space, they were unmanageable.

The local Spacesaver affiliate designed seven mobile systems that were incorporated into the OR core for storing sterile supplies, cases and instruments for surgery. Two systems are located in the main core for supply items, two systems are located between the orthopedics surgery rooms for storing replacement parts and supplies, two service the neurosurgery suite and one unit is in the heart core.

“Finding items quickly is critical. Three to four minutes is an eternity in an OR. If you cannot locate an item, it could have a major impact on a surgery,” McGuire said.

“With the Spacesaver systems, the staff can now easily go in and get what they need, rather than searching the carts,” McGuire said. “In the operating room you are moving very quickly from case to case. You don’t have time to find things and fumble your way through unorganized carts.”

The Surgical Services Department at Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, Maryland, upgraded their storage in the operating room core and replaced more than 70 wire carts with seven Spacesaver mobile systems.

Storing surgical supplies for optimal efficiency

Seven mobile systems replaced more than 70 carts and saved critical space in the OR core. McGuire says that the space savings has allowed Peninsula Regional to store items in the core rather than in a central sterile supply area. “Now equipment and supplies are readily available and there is no waiting for an item during surgery,” he said.

With millions of dollars of OR supplies and instrumentation, over a million dollars worth of supplies in orthopedics alone, it was also important to medical center staff to store supply items more safely and in a more organized fashion. According to McGuire, the Spacesaver systems have helped to “minimize disorder as well as clutter.”

“Finding items quickly is critical. Three to four minutes is an eternity in an OR. If you cannot locate an item, it could have a major impact on a surgery.”

Spacesaver’s in-house planners and engineers collaborated with the project team to create hospital storage solutions that save time, save space, and protect sterility.

Storage Solved

All of the mobile systems incorporated drawers for small items such as soft goods, syringes, and catheters. Shelf openings were designed to maximize space while still accommodating items like large surgery cases, which are brought up each day for scheduled surgeries.

The mobile system was designed with clear end panels so that items are easily visible and quickly located. Also, on the end of the large central core supply unit, open slanted shelving was incorporated to store sutures.

Peninsula Regional Medical Center also utilizes Spacesaver systems in the in-patient pharmacy and in central sterile supply areas.

“The Spacesaver systems helped us organize, improved the overall appearance of our area and made it extremely effective to do our job,” concluded McGuire. “I believe Spacesaver was the best solution for our OR.”

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