Sterile Supply Storage On A Mission
Learn how a hospital gained 38% more sterile storage space and saved staff time by installing a “levitating” shelving system that’s easy to use and keep clean. LEVPRO enabled a trauma center to align its sterile storage system with itsmission to improve patient care.
Bryan Health is a nonprofit, locally owned healthcare organization located in Lincoln, Nebraska. With an award-winning network of doctors and hospitals, a health college, acute care centers, and a variety of outpatient clinics, the organization upholds the highest standards of patient care—and that care begins far before staff enter a patient’s room. It begins behind the scenes with the way that supplies and equipment are organized to ensure that staff have quick access to the items they need, and that those items are clean and well-maintained.
MORE THAN JUST A STORAGE ROOM
“Storage, for us, is critically important,” said Tim Clagett, the sterile supply manager at the Bryan West campus. “We have to have easy access, we have to be able to put things away quickly and correctly so they can be easily found when they’re called for.”
Because sterile supply rooms are a critical component in getting patients the care they need, any difficulties accessing and maintaining the items stored can hinder the center’s ability to provide timely services. Before Bryan West had an opportunity to renovate their sterile storage, the system they had been using consisted of stationary racking with pull-out shelving, which worked well but which also took up a lot of space and was cumbersome to clean. Maintaining sterility was always at the forefront of their minds, but the old system made maintaining those standards challenging; every time there was a spill or the room needed to be sterilized, staff had to unload the racking units, move the racking, sterilize the floor, and move everything back. Staff time was tied up in cleaning and organizing the room, and precious square footage was being consumed by a system that wasn’t maximizing the space. These challenges detracted from their ability to focus on spending time with patients.
BUILDING A FRAMEWORK FOR SERVICE
When people hear “caring for patients,” they typically picture nurses and doctors. But even though the facilities management and sterile storage staff may never be in direct contact with patients, the wellbeing of patients is at the forefront of “behind-the-scenes” staff just as much as it is for doctors and nurses. The more efficiently and thoroughly they can perform their daily tasks, the better the quality of care that the trauma center as a whole can provide. With this knowledge, Bryan West wanted to use the renovation as an opportunity to create a system that would optimize space and staff time more efficiently, allowing them to devote more resources to caring for patients.
As Clagett started looking into storage options for the updated facility, the facilities manager, Jason Maple, recommended to Clagett a new storage system that had been helping keep items organized in the hospital’s maintenance area: it consisted of shelving units that could be rolled along an overhead track. The system saved space and, most importantly, was easy to clean because the shelving units “levitated” above the floor.
Clagett liked the concept, and he calculated that installing the new system would allow him to gain 38% more storage space. On a practical level, he realized the system could help him achieve cost and space savings - but more importantly, he realized it would help sterile technicians perform their jobs more easily.
BETTER PATIENT CARE FROM THE GROUND UP
The updated sterile storage room has helped the Bryan West staff align their workspace toward the goals of the entire health system and renew their focus on better serving patients. The LEVPRO system integrates with the facility’s existing shelving while saving space, improving efficiency, promoting cleanliness—and ultimately improving patient care. The fully-steel construction is easy to clean and helps maintain sterility—a primary goal of any medical facility.
“It’s an ideal system for us because our old system sat on the ground,” Clagett said. “With this new system, we can slide the racks apart, clean under the bays, slide them over a little and clean under those bays. It makes it so much easier to clean.”
The facilities manager agreed. “You can roll them out and get underneath the actual rolling system instead of having to actually physically move the whole complete shelf to clean under it.” he said. Staff are able to maneuver carts among the aisles, quickly retrieve and replace surgical kits and other supplies, and clean the room efficiently so that they can focus on more critical tasks. The facility was even able to customize the color to “Bryan Blue” in order to incorporate design elements from the rest of the building.
While the LEVPRO system has improved day-to-day efficiency in practical ways, what truly matters is that it helps the team stay focused on what their real mission is. “What drives me is patient safety and making sure our patients are safe, making sure things are sterile,” Clagett said. “Sometimes we get the panic calls from surgery, especially with us being a trauma center: ‘I need this system right away.’ And we know where to go.”
The best patient care starts behind the scenes.
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