All healthcare facilities need to secure the medical carts used to treat patients. A medication cart with a lock on the drawers at a minimum, or some high-tech security device or a combination of different methods work best.

Hospitals and clinics must keep medications, high-value equipment, and pilferable items under control. Scott-Clark Medical offers innovative and integrated ways to do this. Carts can also be customized to suit the facility where it will be used.

You can combine cart technology with existing hospital security and procedures to create a workable solution.

What is A Mobile Cart Used for in a Hospital?

Mobile medical carts have been standard equipment at all clinics, hospitals, and doctors’ offices for decades. Carts save time and costs and improve the quality of patient care.

Computer carts, combined with wireless and usually cloud technology, allow facilities to immediately update patient records, permitting any authorized healthcare worker access to the most up-to-date information about the status of the patient’s condition.

Battery technology has created a market for integrated, often hot-swap, power sources used in medical carts for computers and medical equipment.

Protecting these sometimes-pricey investments requires careful planning and research.


Since hospitals use mobile carts to store and move drugs around from room-to-room, securing many of these medicines fall under state and federal drug laws.

These laws often have precise requirements for storage and accountability.

Here is an excerpt of a few of the requirements for medication storage under federal regulations:

A secure area means that drugs and biologicals are stored in a manner to prevent unmonitored access…all controlled substances must be locked…When a patient care area is not staffed…controlled…substances are expected to be locked.

Individual state requirements may have more stringent laws and regulations.

Physical Security Options for Carts

Physical security options for mobile hospital carts include things as simple as a drawer or cabinet locked by a key to integrated biometric devices.

Drawers that automatically shut and lock, especially for medication carts, are popular choices for many hospitals. Lock bars, breakaway tabs, and padlocks also work well.

You can even chain or padlock a cart to a wall or pillow in the hospital. Locking a cart within view of a nurses’ station, another manned area or under video surveillance 24-hours per day is ideal.

Technical Methods

Many facilities combine proximity cards and biometrics to not only secure medicines and equipment, but also to help maintain better accountability.

With the right software programs clinics can ensure that when a card it swiped, the identity of the card holder, the time, and how many and what type of item the person removes from the cart cabinet or drawer.

Additional Security Methods

Other hospital security measures can supplement more direct methods like a locking drawer or cabinet.

Most hospitals have cameras deployed in strategic locations throughout the building. A camera inside the room or focusing on the door leading to where a facility stores its carts helps keep medicines and pilferable or high value items safe.

Audible alarms connected to cart access points or the cart drawers and cabinets can also help.


It is essential to have written policies that delineate who and under what circumstances a healthcare worker must accept responsibility for securing a cart. Checks and balances, including regular inventories and inspections, can help mitigate problems. Many clinics check and inventory each cart each shift.

Last Word

Keeping your medical carts and its contents secure is easy. Take the time to think about how best to do so, given your facility layout, existing policies, and what your carts hold.

You can also speak with a member of our team at Scott-Clark Medical to see what off-the-shelf or customized options will fit your needs.

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