Measuring Linen Efficiency and Determining Ownership
Linen and laundry services are often costly ancillary services within healthcare organizations. Disposable linens, distribution strategies, and internal versus third-party processing are all potential challenges for environmental service budgets. Hospitals and health systems looking to restructure laundry services can look into strategies for cost reduction.
According to a 2015 Becker’s Hospital CFO Report, one of the most common sources of expense is linen loss, both through disposable linen and through wear. Expenses can be even higher depending on whether laundry is handled in-house or by a third-party contractor. For Parkland Health & Hospital System, the ownership of linen remains in-house in order to promote cost savings.
HBI’s Supply Chain Academy spoke directly with Jay Dyck, director of linen services at Parkland Health & Hospital System, in order to discuss strategies for cost cutting and maintaining operations to meet industry standards.
Industry Benchmarks and Standards
One major way that Parkland Health & Hospitals ensures standard laundry management throughout their facilities is by measuring clean pounds processed per operator hour. This metric keeps the organization on top of exactly how efficient the laundry services in-house are and whether those should continue to be in-house.
The American Reusable Textile Association notes that the standard industry metric is total clean pounds processed divided by the number of worked hours, or the number of clean pounds divided by patient days or adjusted patient days. For the latter, an ideal benchmark would result as less than 15 for patient days and less than 12 for adjusted patient days.
For Parkland Health & Hospitals, efficiency efforts toward their in-house laundry services, such as tracking metrics and instituting continuous cycle bin systems, resulted in a tracked 150 clean pounds processed per operator hour. This is a major improvement over the 90 pounds previously tracked when the in-house services began 20 years ago within the facilities.
Utilizing Standards for Collaboration
Par levels are monitored closely and adjustments are made as soon as issues are seen. Truck rescheduling, bin overflow, or low volume redistribution are some of the challenges that Parkland Health & Hospitals’ laundry services work together with the environmental services team to resolve.
By keeping measured standards as an ideal, organizations can resolve common issues regarding efficiency, distribution, and use. Understanding times that will be busier or have lower volumes of linens, both the environmental services and laundry services can work together to find solutions that navigate busy schedules and separate protocols.
Most importantly for the organization as a whole, expenses can be controlled through more thorough attention to the benchmarks used and the processes that are aligned throughout the organization.
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