Medical supply carts are the backbone of any busy medical facility. Wheeled medical carts can improve efficiency and decrease patient wait times by allowing medical staff to move unencumbered. Emergency crash carts are designed to save lives, so they must be moved quickly to a patient’s location without wheels sticking or running into walls.
The best powered-carts have long-lasting batteries with the hot swap system, allowing cells to be replaced on-the-go without interrupting power. While older medical carts can be retrofitted with these batteries, replacing the cart may be the best option. Newer carts have better drawer and wheel designs to minimize sanitation issues and strain nurses’ shoulders and backs.
Medical Supply Carts on Wheels with Drawers
Medical supply storage needs vary from hospital to hospital, but mobile medical carts are universal. Wheeled medical supply carts offer nurses and other staff an easy way to move supplies and equipment between patient rooms, allowing hospitals to reduce overall equipment costs.
Storing and transporting medication is particularly sensitive, and requires carts with securely locking drawers. While medical cabinets attached to a wall are useful for long-term storage, mobile medical supply carts provide easy access to medications for emergencies or daily rounds. Proximity card systems can be installed on carts to allow keyless entry by multiple staff, and barcode scanning systems make sure staff administer the correct medications.
Equipment carts can benefit from drawers that allow secure storage of pens, tape, ID cards, and other essentials. When moving a cart around, having items stored securely provides a safer and more professional work environment.
Hospital Utility Crash Carts
In an emergency, staff may be scrambling to locate the correct supplies to save a patient’s life. An organized and labeled crash cart can make all the difference when seconds count. Crash carts should keep pediatric medications with the appropriate dosages in a separate, clearly-labeled drawer.
Crash carts must have smooth casters and be compact and lightweight to allow for ease of movement. However, they must also have reliable and secure batteries to ensure uninterrupted monitoring of patients’ vitals. Balancing weight, size, and functionality is vital for any cart but is especially critical for crash carts.
Medical Carts to Fit Your Needs
Hospitals typically need separate crash carts for pediatric wards, operating rooms, intensive care units, and other specialized areas. However, all these procedure carts have a common need for ample storage space. Carts should have the smallest footprint possible to aid in maneuvering inside rooms, but with the right combination of drawer sizes and shapes, they can provide sufficient storage.
Having an adequate supply of specialized carts can save precious minutes during a given staff member’s shift. For example, a nursing home will have very different medication and equipment needs than a neonatal unit.
Modern medical carts are customizable and can have highly tailored combinations of equipment, drawers, and more. Even after the purchase, many carts can be adjusted to suit individual users’ heights or can have the batteries and other equipment replaced as needed.
Types of Medical Utility Carts
Medical facilities need a broad range of carts in addition to crash carts. Some types of mobile medical utility carts include:
Isolation carts have many of the same features as standard medication and storage carts. However, they have a streamlined design for better infection control and to prevent disease transmission between patients.
Multi-purpose transfer carts
These general-purpose medical carts allow nurses and staff technicians to move and resupply patient rooms and other carts in an organized and efficient way.
Anesthesia carts provide a more specialized version of a standard transfer cart, as they organize a supply of IVs and medication. They often have lockable drawers to secure potentially dangerous medications.
Treatment carts for pediatric wards
A pediatric ward often requires different sizes of supplies and various medications, and other specialized wards have their own unique needs as well.
A lightweight cart that rolls easily can help ensure that staff can carry out their duties without risk of injury or excessive fatigue. Carts that don’t have heavy equipment can be made of lightweight materials compared with carts that have computers or multiple batteries.
How a Medical Cart with Drawers Can Improve Workflow
One study found that nurses reported significantly fewer trips to the central medication room when provided with a locking medication cart. The same is likely right for other supplies and tasks, as carts allow nurses to move more goods than they usually would be able to carry.
Hospital directors and procurement staff should consult with nurses and other frontline staff before buying new carts, as the team may have specific concerns or requests. Nurses will have the same general needs: easy-to-move wheels, ample drawer space, and adequate batteries for carts that require them.
How to Maintain Medical Carts with Drawers
As a high-quality medical cart has a durable steel construction, it will need minimal repairs throughout its lifetime. However, daily resupplying and cleaning are necessary to meet sanitation requirements and ensure all staff is well-equipped. Hospital management must communicate the expectations for cart cleaning and restocking, especially when introducing a new cart into a ward.
Eventually, the charge time for batteries becomes longer, which is an inevitable part of their aging. Cells are typically easy to replace or retrofit, so hospitals and doctor offices rarely have to replace an entire cart. Even the wheels on new carts are well-designed to prevent jamming and wear.
At Scott-Clark Medical, we offer on-site retrofitting and refurbishment services that won’t disrupt your facility’s workflow or impact your patient care. We provide hot swap batteries that prevent downtime so you can get the most out of your mobile medical carts.
Nursing staff should communicate with the IT team if they encounter problems related to battery life, locking and unlocking medication drawers, or other minor issues. A well-designed cart can be fixed easily without any assistance from the manufacturer.
What to Look for When Purchasing Medical Supply Carts
Storage is one of the main features to look for in a medical supply cart. For a general point of care supplies, a system of drawers is sufficient to house essential items. If you need a computer cart or crash cart, the cart should be equipped with storage to keep cords and cables organized.
Medication carts should feature lockable drawers with biometric or keycard locks that automatically register when medications are taken and administered. For carts that store sharps or biohazardous materials, safe disposal units are essential to protect patients and staff.
Minimal Recharge Times
Long power cords can post a trip hazard, especially for patients with limited mobility. A mobile medical cart with drawers should operate with a rechargeable battery system to hot swap with other cells that are charging in a dedicated recharge area.
To prevent your cart from rolling away during use, choose a cart that features multidirectional locking casters. Casters enable you to maneuver the unit into tight spaces between hospital beds and take the cart from room to room without the flooring inhibiting the cart’s movement.
Stainless steel is sturdy, and aluminum is lightweight but still strong enough to house electrical equipment and monitors. Plastic can be an appropriate material for cart workbenches that can be textured to provide grip and prevent equipment from sliding.
Mobile medical carts should be sanitized between use to prevent the transfer of pathogens between patients and surfaces. Choose a medical cart with drawers that has a streamlined design and durable materials that can be cleaned using alcohol-based sterilizing gear.
Buy a High-Quality, Long-Lasting Medical Cart from Scott-Clark Medical
Scott-Clark Medical has a wide range of reliable and easy-to-use medical supply carts customized for any hospital ward or clinic. Our patented FMCPT Swap Option Power System allows nurses and other staff to change batteries as needed without interrupting power to the cart’s equipment. Our designs and software are easy for nursing and IT staff to troubleshoot. The increased efficiency can improve patient outcomes, no matter who your hospital serves.
Call Scott-Clark Medical at (512)-756-7300 to speak with a consultant about how our medical carts can improve your facility.