Optimizing Hospital Efficiency, 2024 HSPA, and Much More!

Steve Brothers

Lots has been happening at Waterloo Healthcare since our last newsletter.  We joined many of you at the HSPA conference in Las Vegas.  Had a wonderful time reconnecting with several of our distributors as well as our Sterile Processing customers who are on the front lines when it comes to managing their hospitals’ code cart fleet.  Without their support, a cart is just a cart…so thank you for all you do to keep our carts at the ready to help your staff save lives!

We also attended the Health Connect Partners conference in Dallas.  At this conference we met with many Hospital Supply Chain contacts and Distributors to educate them on Waterloo Products and understand the challenges they face with procedure cart replacement.

In our discussions at these events, we learned about the thought process involved in determining the replacement of outdated medical procedure carts.  In this newsletter we will explore the strategic planning required for procedure cart replacement, focusing on four key types: Code carts, Anesthesia carts, Isolation carts, and Bedside carts. Each type presents unique challenges and considerations, necessitating a tailored approach to replacement planning.

HSPA Las Vegas 2024

To effectively manage procedure cart replacement, hospitals must adopt a proactive approach. This involves routine assessment to identify carts nearing the end of their lifespan, prioritization based on usage frequency and criticality, budgeting to ensure timely procurement without disrupting operations, and fostering distributor partnerships to streamline the replacement process.

Strategic planning for procedure cart replacement is not merely a logistical endeavor but a cornerstone of quality healthcare delivery. By understanding the nuances of cart lifespan, usage patterns, and maintenance requirements, hospitals can optimize efficiency, ensure uninterrupted patient care, and maintain a safe and hygienic environment.

We at Waterloo Healthcare wish everyone a happy and safe Summer travel season!

Steve Brothers National Distribution Manager at Waterloo

Optimizing Hospital Efficiency: Strategic Planning for Procedure Cart Replacement

Procedure carts are indispensable for storing and transporting essential medical supplies. These carts are not immortal though – they have a finite lifespan, influenced by various factors, with one of the primary determinants being their level of mobility within the hospital environment.

Understanding the lifespan of procedure carts is crucial for efficient resource management and ensuring uninterrupted workflow. Hospitals must develop strategic plans for timely replacement, taking into account the specific needs and usage patterns of different cart types. Let’s delve into the intricacies of planning for procedure cart replacement, focusing on four key types: Code carts, Anesthesia carts, Isolation carts, and Bedside carts.

procedure cart replacement

1. Code Carts: Code carts are essential for critical care situations, requiring rapid access to life-saving medications and equipment. Their usage involves regular movement and handling between patient care areas and the central supply department (for resupply and restocking). Due to the stressful nature of responding to a code blue emergency, code carts see more aggressive use than other carts. This results in a shorter than average lifespan ranging from 6 to 8 years, as these carts undergo considerable wear and tear over time. Hospitals must plan for their replacement within this timeframe to maintain operational readiness during emergencies.

2. Anesthesia Carts: Anesthesia carts are essential equipment in the operating room, requiring rapid access to medications and equipment. They are used daily, but don’t travel the distances that other procedure carts do in a hospital. With a lifespan ranging from 6 to 8 years, these carts undergo considerable wear and tear over time, albeit not from being moved across the hospital several times a day. To maintain operational readiness during surgeries, hospitals must plan for their replacement within this timeframe.

3. Isolation Carts: Isolation carts are the workhorses of infection control, constantly in motion to support isolation protocols and prevent cross-contamination. These carts are frequently moved from central supply to just outside the patient room where personal protective equipment will be required. Their frequent movement and rigorous use inevitably take a toll on their longevity. As a result, these carts typically have a shorter lifespan, ranging from 5 to 7 years. Hospitals must anticipate the high replacement frequency of isolation carts and allocate resources accordingly.

4. Bedside Carts: Bedside carts, although integral to patient care, experience comparatively less travel within the hospital setting. Typically stationed near patient beds, these carts store everyday supplies and medications required for routine care. Due to their relatively static nature, bedside carts enjoy a longer lifespan, spanning between 10 to 13 years. Hospitals can capitalize on this extended lifespan to optimize resource allocation and prioritize replacements for more active cart types.

Strategic Planning for Procedure Cart Replacement: To effectively manage the replacement of procedure carts, hospitals must adopt a proactive approach. This involves:

  1. Routine Assessment: Conducting regular assessments of cart usage and condition to identify carts nearing the end of their lifespan.  Items to inspect include: Casters, drawer glides, side shelves, accessories, etc.
    1. Is everything securely mounted to the cart?
    2. Casters roll smoothly?
    3. Drawers open/close properly?
    4. Does the current cart lock operate as it should?
    5. Have the security needs of the cart outgrown its current lock?
    6. Are there overstuffed drawers or external supply items that indicate the current cart no longer meets storage requirements?
  1. Prioritization: Allocating resources based on the activity level and criticality of each cart type. Code carts, Anesthesia carts, and Isolation carts should receive priority due to their higher usage frequency.
    1. Are there upcoming inspections (Joint Commission, Department of Health, etc.) that have outstanding requirements needing to be addressed since last inspection?
    2. Did routine assessment uncover immediate issues with any current carts that need to be addressed quickly?
    3. Are there any upcoming renovation plans that could include cart replacement?
  1. Budgeting: Be sure to factor in the costs and time associated with cart replacement to ensure timely procurement without disrupting operations.
    1. Allow for production lead time (Procedure Carts can take 4+ weeks to build)
    2. Anesthesia carts can cost more than $5000 each due to the advanced narcotics lock requirements. (Do you have the necessary budget?)
    3. Code carts can also cost more than $4000 each when loaded with accessories. (Do you have the necessary budget?)
    4. Most carts require accessories to be mounted on-site. (Do you have the maintenance resources available to handle assembly in-house or do you need to budget for pre-assembly and white-glove installation?)
  1. Distributor Partnerships: Waterloo Healthcare partners with all the major Medical Distributors. This can bring added benefits to your cart purchase in that many of our distributors offer additional services.
    1. Does your “Prime vendor” offer additional services that can facilitate a smooth transition to new carts?

a) White Glove service (Inside delivery)
b) On-site accessory installation
c) Debris removal

  1. Training and Maintenance: Providing staff with training on proper cart usage and maintenance practices can prolong the lifespan of replacement carts.
    1. Waterloo Healthcare is happy to provide on-site training for staff. Especially important when purchasing our more advanced electronic locks.
    2. Waterloo Healthcare is happy to provide annual cart inspections upon request. We can assess the components on current carts and provide a list of replacement parts that might be needed.

In conclusion, the lifespan of procedure carts in a hospital is intricately linked to their activity level, usage patterns, and on-going maintenance. By strategically planning for replacement and prioritizing carts based on their function and wear, hospitals can optimize efficiency, ensure uninterrupted patient care, and maintain a safe and hygienic environment. Effective management of procedure cart replacement is not just a logistical necessity but a cornerstone of quality healthcare delivery.  The Waterloo Healthcare field team can help with your procedure cart assessment. Simply contact us and our local rep will be happy to help you evaluate your current procedure carts.

5 Quick Questions To Ask Yourself When Determining If It’s Time To Replace Your Procedure Carts:

  1. Did your last Joint Commission inspection call for corrective action on any of your procedure carts (Code carts, Anesthesia carts, Isolation carts, etc.)?
  2. Are your current procedure carts more than six years old?
  3. Do the locks on your current procedure carts provide the appropriate level of security or have new security standards caused your current locks to be obsolete?
  4. How much stuff is piled on top of your existing procedure carts? In other words, have you outgrown your current carts?
  5. How are your casters holding up? Are they noisy, difficult to steer, too small and catch on seams and thresholds, rusty, etc.?
old procedure cart

Congratulations to Joanne Royer, the winner of our raffle at April’s HSPA show – we hope you enjoy your Samsung tablet!

April 2024 HSPA winner

Get Prepared in Honor of World Trauma Day

One of the most important elements a hospital has in a trauma situation is the medical cart. Holding supplies that must be organized, accessible, and implemented during an emergency with traumatic injuries, medical carts should be routinely assessed so replacements can be ordered before they are needed in the trauma room (and the emergency department, in general).

World Trauma Day is October 17th, and centers on the importance of life-protecting and life-saving measures and equipment needed during emergency situations. Now is the perfect time to plan for reviewing the status of your medical carts and ensuring the budget can accommodate any needed replacements. As always, we are available to answer any questions you have!

Steve Brothers, our National Distribution Manager; and Jeremy Jones, our National Business Development Manager, at HSPA 2024

HSPA Las Vegas 2024
HSPA 2024
Waterloo Healthcare HSPA 2024
HSPA Las Vegas 2024
Waterloo HSPA

Waterloo Healthcare Donates Tens of Thousands of Dollars’ Worth of Carts to Mercy Ships

Waterloo and Mercy Ships
DSI Distributor Spotlight
Read About it Here
Distributor Spotlight DSI

Waterloo Healthcare is dedicated to providing quality, flexible medical cart solutions that accommodate any clinician’s needs, and our team is always available to help design the cart that’s right for you!

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