The “next step” of the Surgery Supply, Instrument & Equipment Storage Reorganization Project was to identify and inventory all of the instruments and supply items, and was literally the tip of the iceberg.  This was the starting point of a two-pronged approach which entailed running various reports to “reconcile” the item inventories and come up with a plan to update & maintain the information.  It was extremely important to have the input, support, and collaboration of end-users from both clinical experts as well as the materials and IT non-clinical experts.  Their feedback provided the necessary information required to establish baseline for data optimization and standardizing naming conventions for sorting, confirming inventory locations, and par levels, etc.  Other benefits included the ability to create new tools such as locator lists and color coded labeling to assist in finding instruments and supply items quickly, and laminated pictures and colored tape identifying storage locations to assist in putting equipment away.

Preparing the shelves to establish and accommodate new storage locations meant sorting, identifying and comparing all of the instruments and supplies found in cabinets, cubbies and storage shelves including back-up, seldom used, and discontinued items.  Planning the reorganization required categorizing like-items and instruments and identifying new storage locations and container solutions for easier case picking, put-away, scanning, and replenishment.

All of the equipment was inventoried, identifying the largest equipment primarily being used in specific rooms, optimizing paths for moving in & out, storage efficiency, software update connections, and defining how to best utilize the space freed up consolidating instruments and supplies.  This step also required installing new storage solutions to handle all of the equipment, tables, beds, accessories and tools.    Data clean-up required touching all of the associated inventories and the separate dictionaries of materials management and the electronic medical record programs that pull into preference cards and sterile processing tray recipes.  After this data “optimization” the dictionaries for the individual modules completed the first step moving toward software interface for improved scheduling and conflict checking.


Clinical coordinators, nursing staff, and scrub techs along with sterile processing leads made their way through active instruments pretty quickly, but going through the back-up, seldom used, and discontinued instruments was more time consuming requiring them to draw upon knowledge and experience for accurate identification.  Reconciliation resulted in improvements, consolidation, and desire for future projects that included replenishment, repair/replace processes, instrument set review, education, training, and overall teamwork.


The clinical coordinators, surgery buyers, product coordinator, and purchasing department staff employed a defined process of item verification, active status, frequency of use, par levels, locations, barcode accuracy, timing of scanning, storage capacity & replenishment, etc. to reconcile supply items, disposables, and implants. This information was then used to create logs that facilitated the process of data optimization to update the dictionaries and inventories.

Upon completion of these 2 steps –the FIRST PASS of the Surgery Supply, Instrument & Equipment Storage Reorganization Project was successfully implemented.