Hospitals use different types of medical equipment carts for emergency room (EMR), pediatric care, patient bed-site support, and more.

One of the most important uses of these carts is for anesthesiologic purposes.

Automating surgical centers and other sections in a healthcare facility includes providing mobile carts, tailored specifically to whatever purpose the doctors and nurses use the cart for.

Customizing a cart can support the use of anesthesia in an operating room and help streamline and improve patient care.

Cart Parameters for Anesthesiologist Use

Anesthesiologists and nurses need access to a variety of medications depending on circumstances. Responsible healthcare administrators must provide an organized cart so doctors and supporting staff can quickly obtain the exact drug needed when they need it.

Due to narcotic protection concerns, the carts must have appropriate security and tracking mechanism to minimize the risk of unauthorized access and theft.

Mobile Cart Construction

Mobile carts for hospitals use polymer or stainless-steel construction. Stainless-steel has antimicrobial properties that make it excellent for clinical environment use.

The wheels on mobile medical carts come in a variety of shapes and styles. A healthcare cart has casters made to avoid trapping bits of gauze, cloth, or other treatment room contaminants.

The construction allows easy disinfection and cleaning.

General Types of Carts

It is possible to buy a mobile medical cart factory-designed for the job the facility expects the cart to perform.

Mobile power is one of the key features of many carts used consistently for computers and medical equipment.

Hot-swap battery technology has added to the popularity of mobile power carts. With a hot-swap system, if the battery starts to lose power, the system can switch to the backup battery without losing power and interrupting whatever procedure or powered process the nurses or doctors are performing.

EMR or crash carts usually have cabinets and drawers designed for holding basic EMR equipment such as defibrillators, IV bags and fluids, and certain medicines commonly used in emergency rooms.

Pediatric carts may have integrated scales, certain pediatric-emergency related items sized for child treatment. The medicines kept in these carts will be in pre-measured dosages based on children’s weights and sizes.

Some factory-made carts also have one or two IV poles.

Anesthesia Cart Features

Mobile medical carts made for anesthesia purposes have a variety of drawers and cabinets to hold the medicines necessary for anesthesiologists to use. Often the drawers are color-coded or sectioned off to make it easier for the doctor and staff to access quickly the types of medicines needed. For example, one set of drawers may contain pre-measured dosages and specific types of drugs for children and another for the doctor to use when treating adults.

Some anesthesia carts may have a battery pack to power a laptop or medical equipment.

Drawer Features, Security, and Accountability

The critical feature of anesthesia carts is the type of locks and method of accountability for the narcotics, opioids, and other controlled substances necessary for the practice of anesthesiology.


The drawers should allow quick access to the contents. The speed of opening can make a difference in treating patients in emergencies. Most anesthesia drawers are spring-loaded so that once unlocked, the drawer opens quickly and automatically. The drawers close in the same manner.


The locks on the drawers must meet regulatory standards. Manufacturers usually offer several options, including integrating RFID technology and biometrics. RFID technology provides good accountability when the doctor administers narcotics.

This technology provides the best security when integrated with a reliable Wi-Fi system and automated cloud storage of information.

When the anesthesiologist, nurse, or someone else opens the drawer by swiping his or her RFID identification card, the locking system transmits the name of the person to an access monitoring program. The name of the person, the narcotic or other drugs in the drawer and the time of opening are all recorded and kept on file.

This significantly minimizes the risk of unauthorized access to dangerous drugs and meets the required security standards for storage.

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