How Procedure Cart Can Help to Control Infections in the Post Pandemic Era
Hospital & Health Care

How Procedure Cart Can Help to Control Infections in the Post Pandemic Era

The arrival of the pandemic meant that everyone was suddenly much more aware of disease transmission and infection control. Measures that were previously the exclusive domain of healthcare settings were utilized by everyday people in their everyday lives. In healthcare settings, however, measures had to tighten. The features of procedure carts were used to help enact these changes.

What is a procedure cart?

If you have passed through a healthcare setting even briefly, then you may have walked past a procedure cart without noticing. They are the small cabinets, a collection of drawers on wheels that are used to store medical equipment or to move it between rooms. Perhaps the most noticeable, not least because of the vivid red color, crash carts have space for defibrillators, intubation equipment and everything else you might need when someone’s heart stops beating, but a standard procedure cart can be adapted to serve a wide range of healthcare situations and patients with different needs.

The impact of the pandemic

No matter how much human society progresses, it seems that every so often, a new disease will emerge to cause a pandemic. Names such as the Black Death and the Spanish Flu have gone down in history. It is not so much a case of if but when a new infection will start to spread.

When covid-19 first emerged, there was uncertainty about what it was and the best way to deal with it. Precautions followed general best medical practices, such as hand washing, whilst scientists raced to categorize the virus and develop a more targeted response. As understanding grew, infection control measures could be adapted to suit. This had the added benefit of also reducing incidents of flu and other infectious illness.

Covid-19 is spread by people breathing in droplets in the air. That is why key measures to reduce the spread included protective equipment such as masks or face shields to block droplets, and attempts to improve ventilation to disperse droplets inside buildings. These measures started partially as a stopgap before vaccinations were developed, but whilst vaccinations can reduce the spread and severity of Covid, they do not prevent it completely. This means that other infection control measures remain vital. It is a combination of different mitigators working together to provide the most effective protection.

The post-pandemic era

It is unclear when the pandemic will officially end. Whilst its severity has abated in most places, outbreaks and surges continue. This has led to an ongoing debate over the appropriateness of various restrictions. What is clear that at least some mitigation measures will be needed for some time yet, and that even when the pandemic does come to a close, we should take the lessons learned from it to try and ensure that no infectious disease can have the same kind of impact again in the future.

Utilizing the features of procedure carts

Procedure carts are already designed to try and minimize the spread of infection. Materials such as stainless steel and chrome are used not only because they are durable, but because they are also easy to keep clean. The surfaces of the carts are mostly smooth, without the holes and protrusions that provide nooks and crannies where germs can breed. Drawers and trays can often be removed, making it possible to wash them on all sides.

Many procedure carts come with a specific facility for storing personal protective equipment, or PPE. It makes it easy to switch gloves, gowns and masks if they become contaminated. This is particularly important during an infectious disease outbreak, as healthcare workers will have to repeatedly move between isolation zones, transferring equipment without transferring sickness.

As well as supplying the correct equipment, procedure carts can also include disposal facilities for potentially infectious items that need to be thrown away because they cannot be sterilized and reused. When it comes to pandemic management, increased attention to cleanliness, protective equipment and other preventative measures is vital.

Procedure carts, when designed and used properly, can aid with all of these things. If these measures are used in the post-pandemic world, they may help stop the next major infection from spreading so far and so fast.


Chris Willetts