Clearly, this could potentially result in a life-threatening delay of treatment that could negatively impact the outcome for your patients. As a result, the ideal lock would be one that shows tamper evidence while not requiring the need for a key, numeric code, or proximity badge in order to unlock the cart. We have locking solutions designed for such a scenario, as well as others that your facility faces on a day-to-day basis.
Key questions to ask when determining the optimal lock for your procedure cart:
- Do you need to RESTRICT cart access?
- Do you need to show TAMPER EVIDENCE when a cart or drawer is accessed?
- Do you need the cart to AUTOMATICALLY LOCK after a certain period of time?
- Do you need to be able to TRACK CART ACCESS?
The answers to the above questions will assist you in choosing the proper lock for your procedure cart, and as always, we are here for any questions – just contact us.
Restricting access means that an approved credential is required to unlock a cart. This would be a physical key, numeric key code, or proximity badge. Without any of these credentials, access to a cart is not permitted. A restrictive lock would be used when you have controlled medications and / or expensive supply items stored in the cart – anesthesia carts being a prime example.
Tamper evidence is required when you need to insure that all contents of a cart are present and accounted for. Additionally, they can be used to allow staff to quickly replace items that are outdating (expiring) through use of serialized plastic tamper evident seals.
Automatic relocking is often desired for procedure carts located in patient rooms or in public areas. Electronic locks provide this functionality through relock timers that can be adjusted to lock after a predetermined period of time. This functionality allows staff to access a cart and not worry about physically relocking the cart when they are finished using it, improving clinical response and security as staff can focus on patients and not the cart.
Tracking cart access is often required of carts used in operating and procedure rooms. Typically, these carts have controlled substances in them that require accountability. Electronic locks have the ability to track individual user access so that audit reports can be run to determine who was in and out of a cart at any given time. This ability to track individual access is a vital feature for carts that store narcotics or other items that require detailed tracking.
It is important to note that none of the above 4 key questions are mutually exclusive. For example, a cart may require a lock that restricts access while also showing tamper evidence. The solution to this situation may be multiple locks on the drawers in order to provide the proper security and access requirements for a given procedure cart.
Something else to consider when choosing the right lock is how the locks will need to be managed and by whom. If a customer requires a larger fleet of auto-relocking carts (i.e.: patient bedside carts), you’ll want to look at the role of the individual(s) who will be managing the locks on the carts. How
often will they need to change access codes, relock the timers, or download access records from each cart? How large will the fleet of carts be and how long will it take the responsible individual to travel cart to cart to make these changes or download reports? With large fleets, it often makes sense to consider electronic locks with Wi-Fi capabilities. Wi-Fi capabilities allow the staff member responsible for managing the fleet of carts to make updates or download access reports without travelling cart to cart. This can save a substantial amount of time and effort.
Matching the right lock to the task is a vital step in making sure your procedure carts protect your staff and patients while allowing proper access to needed medications and supplies. The overall result will be carts that provide the right mix of security and access to improve staff performance and patient outcomes!