During our visits to several Atlanta-area health clinics, one of the observations we made was that there were problems with exam room storage areas. In particular we saw many high cabinets that weren't used because they were inconvenient to reach to. This wasted a lot of storage space and overloaded other parts of the exam room that were supposed to be used as storage. Since our research has shown that effective storage and supply management improves the performance of health care staff, our goal was to create a storage space for the exam room that would be visible, accessible, and could remain organized.
Our final design consists of two upper cabinets that slide up and down so that one of them is always at eye level and within arm's reach. This will facilitate easier access to these otherwise high areas of storage. It also features a lower cabinet with drawers that are labeled by color, and medical supplies that are color-coded to match those drawers. This will help nurses and doctors maintain an exam room's supply organization as time goes on. All of the doors and drawer fronts of our cabinets are made from frosted acrylic as well, allowing the staff to see and figure out what's inside of the cabinet without letting the patients know.
Storage Plus presents a designer storage cabinet for improving the access to the space at the back and top of the overhead cabinet shelves located above the counter. The overhead cabinet is facilitated with the sliding rollers so that it can be pulled up and down for easy access. This makes sure the utilization of the dead space at the top and extreme back of the storage cabinets. It also standardizes the storage of the things used in the exam room with the use of color coding, slip-in labels and compartmentalizing the available space. This will help the healthcare employees to sustain the materials in the organized way.
Exam room Problems that we address in our project are:
- Organization - There is very less organization in the exam rooms. The most frequently used things like gloves, bandages, forceps etc are generally found misplaced in the exam room. Also, the things are seldom put back in their original places once they are taken out for use.
- Consistency - There is a persistent problem of inconsistency in different exam rooms of the same organization. If a nurse or a doctor move from one exam room to another, the things are placed in different fashion in all different rooms making it difficult for them to locate things in a natural way.
- Accessibility and Space - There are some problems of accessibility seen in different exam rooms that we observed. Frequently, the storage cabinets located above the counter have 2-3 shelves. The top two shelves are high for an average individual thus making them less accessible as a result of which things are stuffed in the lower shelves and top shelves are almost empty.
- To facilitate access to the unreachable space in the overhead cabinet in the exam room
- To organize materials in a natural, easy and self directing way for the convenience of nurses and physicians.
- To help sustain the organization of the storage material in the exam room.
- To utilize the “Dead Space” in the storage cabinets.