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Sterilizing Best Practices and Guidelines - Space-Efficient High-Density Instrument Set Storage for Sterile Processing Departments

/ By Ian LoperOctober 24, 2022

Sterile storage is essential to every hospital’s success. Healthcare facilities around the country depend on set procedures and manufacturer standards to provide the highest caliber of care for patients and their families.

However, this is easier said than done. For facilities managing large amounts of sensitive equipment, standardized storage solutions are far from ideal.

Let's discuss the solutions available for managing high-density instruments, including all the best practices for a safer, healthier facility. 

Why is High-Density Instrument Storage Essential for Sterile Processing?

High-density instrument storage is required to safely shelve devices, tools, and sensitive equipment for ORs and emergency rooms. In busy hospitals and high-impact operating rooms, the amount of available storage may vastly under-accommodate the number of instruments.

To correct this, healthcare stakeholders must invest in storage solutions that organize tools without clutter.

This may include packing and storage solutions such as:

  • Sterile processing tables - Workstations used to restock or refill crash carts or act as an ergonomic wrap table.
  • Sterile processing carts - Modular storage areas that can be moved and locked as the need arises.
  • Peel pack storage - Shelves for highly sensitive materials that are stored in peel-off packages.

The type of sterile instrument storage units you will need for your organization largely depends on your patients, environment, and operating room space.

Medical Storage Best Practices

Understanding best practices for high-density medical storage will be critical for passing inspections. 

Here are four important factors to keep in mind for your company and facility.

1. High-Density Instrument Storage Should Be Safe

Ensure that your instrument storage areas do not impede on safety protocols. This means every unit must be kept away from fire exits, bathrooms, and other areas required in an emergency.

At DSI, we've helped hundreds of facilities plan their high-density storage rooms away from high-traffic or sensitive areas.

2. Sterile Instrument Storage Should Be Accessed by Authorized Staff

Not just anyone should be able to access sterile instruments. Not only does this increase risk factors for surface bacteria and pathogen exposure, but it reduces patient outcomes both post-op and in recovery.

You may want to consider a number of strategies for reducing unauthorized accessibility. Some medical carts, including the models at DSI, offer five separate locking functions to secure sensitive materials. You may also want to add another layer of security with two-step badge access or secure backrooms.

3. Keep Medical Storage Compliance

Medical storage compliance is handled at the federal level and requires regular inspections of your facility to ensure patient health.

Some storage compliance standards may vary from location to location or may have additional caveats depending on your facility type. It's important to take each of these into account well before the inspection process.

Not sure where to get started? The team at Distribution Systems International can provide value-added consultations that ensure compliance in your facility.

4. Check Stocks Regularly

Medical facilities waste millions of prescriptions, packaging materials, and disposables every year—often due to poorly monitored inventory.

Assign a qualified healthcare specialist to regularly take stock of your inventory. Older supplies should be used before newer supplies to reduce waste and cut costs.

You may also want to invest in inventory software that keeps tabs on your range of supplies.

Sterility is Crucial When Attending to Patients

Patients count on you and your team to keep them safe throughout their treatment. However, poorly sanitized supplies that are exposed to dust, moisture, and unclean air could drastically reduce their outcomes and quality of life.

It's best to invest in a wide range of sterile instrument storage tools that incorporate infection prevention, safety considerations, and long-term ergonomic function.

Comply with the Best Practice for High-Density Instrument Storage

For busy ORs with at-risk clientele, sterile storage compliance can be extremely complex. However, following rules and regulations is critical to the success of your facility, your doctors, and your patients. It's important to partner with experts who have your needs in mind and look for storage solutions that can be customized to your needs.

The professionals at Distribution Systems International understand the pressure imposed by high-density storage regulations, supplying dozens of custom-made modular units to facilities in all 50 states. We've supported better workflows and safer workspaces with decades of combined experience, offering solutions that include:

  • MODU-MAX CTS™
  • Open rack units
  • High-density storage accessories

Learn more about our solutions and industry price point by scheduling a consultation with us today. Speak with a representative and inquire about your no-obligation quote, contact us at 800-393-6090 at Distribution Systems International today!

Sterile Instrument Storage FAQs 

What is DSI’s No-Tear™ storage system?

Sterile storage ensures that your instruments are exposed to as little contamination as possible. The Distribution Systems International No-Tear™ storage system takes this to the next level by giving all blue-wrapped tools and packaging material their own storage location. This ensures your storage conditions are of the highest quality and always ready for emergencies.

You can learn more about DSI's No-Tear™ sterile supply storage system by contacting us today.

Do you offer product assembly and equipment installation?

The team at Distribution Systems International offers value-added services to all our customers. This includes a full consultation that involves planning for the process, finding changes to the challenge, and equipping your facility or department with full installation and product assembly.

We would be happy to install our shelving, modular cabinet units, and sterile processing transport carts in or around your storage space.

How does your onsite space and workflow assessment work?

There are three steps involved in our on-site space and workflow assessment service. First, we visit the facilities, hospitals, or environments in question to assess patient safety and available storage space. Next, we audit your inventory levels and measure square footage to assess the capacity of your storage spaces. Finally, we recommend processes to improve productivity and infection control using systems that are matched to your needs.

You are welcome to clarify any questions you may have with the team at Distribution System International. Submit an online contact form to learn more.

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