5 Reasons Why Medications should be Kept in a Locked Storage at Hospitals

Everhutch 20 Dec 2022

This is a fundamental part of hospital safety. We all know that drugs that may be life-saving in one context can be hazardous in another. This means they need a secure storage area, such as a locking medical storage cabinet. In fact, there are actually multiple reasons to lock medications away are considered one of the best practices in any hospital.

Why use a locking medical storage cabinet in a hospital?

1. Only authorized people will have access

This is probably the most obvious benefit of locked storage cabinets. The only people with the key or keycode will be the medical professionals authorized to access those medications and utilize them in the correct way. People without the proper training and qualifications, or those with nefarious intentions, such as potential thieves, will not be able just to walk in and take them.

2. It will be easier to identify tampering/interference

In an unlocked cabinet, it may not be immediately apparent that someone has accessed it without authorization until a complete inventory is taken. On the other hand, a forced lock can be spotted at first sight. If there is no sign of evident tampering but medication has still gone missing, then having a list of people who have keys will make the investigation much more straightforward.

3. It is easier to maintain appropriate environmental conditions

Many medications need a stable storage environment with an appropriate temperature and humidity. A fully sealed and locked container is much easier to maintain at the appropriate levels, as there are no gaps to allow in unwelcome heat or moisture. This will improve the shelf-life and efficacy of the medication.

4. Hospitals are exceptionally high risk environments

There are many places where medications may need to be stored, from patients’ homes to other healthcare settings. Hospitals, however, are particularly large and busy, often with significant numbers of people moving through them every day. This includes staff, patients and family members, some of whom will only be there for an hour or two, and others who may have to remain longer. It is impossible to monitor them all constantly, so extra security may be necessary.

5. It can reduce the impact of human error

Modern locking cabinets should be able to lock automatically whenever they are closed, without requiring staff to turn the key or enter the code again. This means that a moment of forgetfulness or carelessness will not compromise overall security. Whenever an authorized person is not directly accessing the cabinet, there is no doubt that it will be locked.

Considering this extensive list of reasons, it is clear that locking medical storage cabinets are important to maintain hospital security. Upholding the highest patient care and safety standards means ensuring that the necessary medications are available when required, but unauthorized persons cannot access them. This is important in any healthcare setting, but especially in a busy hospital with large numbers of different people constantly entering and leaving.