Outpatient vs Inpatient Healthcare Linen Service Needs

September 30, 2022 by Nixon Medical

The healthcare industry loves to break things down into categories; from medical jargon that defines and divides the body and its organs to specialists who only practice certain kinds of medicine, they even categorize healthcare facilities and how they operate. The average person may not be familiar with these distinctions, thinking of all healthcare as similar and falling under one large umbrella category, but these separations play a major role in patient care, notably if a medical facility is outpatient or inpatient.

When it comes to the difference between outpatient and inpatient facilities, outpatient care is often associated with convenience, focusing on safety and comfort for both patients and staff in the short-term. That means outpatient facilities have very specific needs when it comes to their medical apparel and linens. Choosing a medical laundry service that specializes in outpatient care can make life much easier for office managers and clinicians.

Let’s discuss outpatient vs inpatient healthcare and why specialized linen services are a game changer.

What is the Difference Between Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment?

Outpatient and inpatient care differentiate between how long a patient is in the care facility. Outpatient facilities specialize in care you receive without requiring admittance and patients stay less than 24 hours. Even a visit to the emergency room can be considered outpatient care if the patient is not admitted after treatment. Some examples of outpatient facilities are:

  • Urgent Care Clinics
  • Primary Care Clinics
  • X-Ray, MRI, and Other Imaging Centers
  • Surgery Centers
  • Specialist Offices
    • Inpatient care refers specifically to when a patient is admitted and treated while they stay in the hospital. In inpatient facilities, individuals are there longer than 24 hours, usually staying, at a minimum, overnight. In some cases, patients may stay for weeks, months, or even years in an inpatient facility. Some examples of inpatient facilities are:
  • Hospitals
  • Rehab Centers
  • Nursing Homes
  • Psychiatric Hospitals
  • Addiction Treatment Centers

Because outpatient treatment does not require an overnight stay with round-the-clock care, the patient linen needs of these facilities can vary greatly.

Healthcare Linen Needs for Outpatient and Inpatient Facilities

Outpatient facilities are usually considered convenient options for patients, and that means they typically deal with high-volume visits. Some outpatient facilities may handle multiple procedures and treat referral patients, adding to their already high volume. Higher patient and treatment volume often means that outpatient facilities require more materials for their day-to-day operations, spending a large portion of their revenue on supplies. It also means that facility staff are exceptionally busy and have less time to worry about things like the inventory management of patient linens.

Some outpatient facilities like urgent cares, accept walk-in patients, making it very hard to judge the exact volume on any given day. If a facility accepts walk-ins this can increase volume and make it harder to accurately predict the supply levels for textiles like healthcare linens, a facility might need. This can all equal major headaches for office managers and clinicians.

While inpatient facilities don’t usually require the volume of supplies that outpatient facilities do, extensive sanitation is a priority for both. In an inpatient setting like a hospital, where more people are spending more time, sometimes in a weakened state, disease and infection are a serious concern. In an outpatient facility, high volume can lead to exposure to various illnesses for both patients and staff. The first line of defense against these concerns is proper sanitation. Reliable, ethical, and effective medical care relies firmly on clean and sanitized tools and equipment, including patient linens and apparel, making the need for advanced sanitation and careful laundering a necessity.

Choosing the Right Patient Linen Provider

Administrators and facility managers in both inpatient and outpatient facilities are often jumping through hoops to ensure that patients receive the best care, and that facility staff have all the tools they need to effectively do their jobs. Patient linens and apparel are an important cornerstone of any healthcare facility’s daily operations and a vital part of ensuring a safe and comfortable experience. Patient comfort and the safety of everyone in the facility is a top priority for those in these positions regardless of which type of facility they work in. But in outpatient care, managing patient apparel and linens can prove to be a daunting task.

Because of the high volume and variability in the day-to-day of an outpatient facility, administrators need to be able to rely fully on their healthcare linen service providers. Reliability, flexibility, and excellent customer care are essential when choosing the right healthcare linen service. Let’s take a look at why these qualities matter.


When you’re juggling a hundred different tasks and managing the stock of important healthcare materials like sterile equipment, PPE, and medical linens, a missed or delayed shipment can wreak havoc on daily operations. That can mean unhappy patients, staff that can’t do their jobs, and worst of all, an unsafe situation for everyone. This is why having a reliable linen provider to supply you with sanitary and safe linens on time is necessary for high-volume environments like outpatient care facilities.


When things change, you need to be able to adapt quickly. Whether you’re growing rapidly or noticing a lull in patient volume, you need a cost-effective patient linen provider who can meet your needs efficiently. With the variable volume of patients some outpatient facilities experience, agreement flexibility is a must when choosing a provider.

Exceptional Customer Care

You have enough to worry about, dealing with a medical linen provider who is making life difficult for you or leaving you without the support you need to run your facility will not only frustrate you, but will eat up more time than necessary. A healthcare linen service should always make life easier in a fast-paced environment like an outpatient facility, freeing you to focus on other duties like the patient experience.

Nixon Medical: Your Outpatient Specialists

At Nixon Medical, we focus solely on providing outpatient care facilities with the best possible service and solutions for managing, stocking, laundering, and customizing your medical apparel and linens. We understand your unique needs and are trusted by 10,000+ medical centers nationwide. Our inventory management system ensures you always have what you need when you need it and with our HLAC-accredited laundry service, you can rest assured that your linens are clean and ready to protect your staff and patients.

Here’s what you can expect when you partner with Nixon Medical:

  • Easy payment solutions
  • No minimums required, ever
  • Free deliveries for unexpected needs
  • Contact-free service model
  • Anytime access to route service representative

If you’d like to learn more about how specialized outpatient healthcare linen services can better suit your needs, head to our site, and explore our library of downloadable resources. Nixon Medical is standing by to help you make your outpatient facility more efficient, environmentally friendly, and safe. Let’s continue the conversation and you can experience for yourself why our satisfaction score is 50% higher than our competition.

Written by Nixon Medical

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