Why Your Medical Laundry Inventory Program Doesn’t Work

August 11, 2020 by Nixon Medical

At your outpatient facility, you spend most of your time ensuring that your patients, clinicians, and staff are taken care of. This involves a lot of different details, like managing operations, weekly schedules, and your medical laundry inventory program. Your medical laundry and linens are a vital part of your operation and play an important role in your patients’ experience, so they need to be managed well.

You know how important your existing medical laundry inventory program is, but the truth is, it’s not always at the top of your mind. For your outpatient facility to maintain patient satisfaction, you need a solid medical laundry program.

If the above scenario is all too familiar, keep reading, as we’ll review why your medical laundry inventory program doesn’t work—and how you can fix it.

You’re Handling Medical Laundry On-Premise and Not Using HLAC-Accredited Services

Your current medical inventory program doesn’t work because you’re handling your medical laundry on-site and are not using an HLAC-accredited laundry service. In theory, it sounds like an on-premise inventory solution would be in the best interest of your facility because it keeps laundry and linens in your facility, where they are needed most. But that’s actually not the case. In fact, the Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council (HLAC) does not recommend this approach, as it can cause challenges and create unnecessary risks if your facility doesn’t abide by standard safety protocols.

The Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council (HLAC) is a nonprofit organization that inspects and accredits laundries that process reusable textiles for healthcare facilities. Using an HLAC-accredited laundry service means your laundry meets HLAC Accreditation Standards and that it was processed by an organization that passed facility, policy, procedure, and training program inspections. The HLAC Accreditation Standards were developed in accordance with federal regulations and industry best practices. Working with an accredited provider also ensures that soiled textiles are laundered safely at an off-site facility, not taken home or laundered on-premise, which can also create risks.

You’re Not Using Compliant Medical Laundering Techniques

Even if you’re not using HLAC-accredited laundry services, it is still critical to follow compliant laundering techniques. These are techniques like maintaining laundry facility statements, using special wash formulas, and enforcing set cleaning policies and procedures within your facility. Techniques like those described above meet Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) requirements, which is critical to the ongoing success of your organization.

Without compliant laundering techniques, your organization may be subject to unfavorable consequences.

You Don’t Have a Standard Pick-Up or Delivery Schedule

Working in an outpatient facility is hectic enough, without the added stress of having to organize medical laundry pick-ups and deliveries. But, without a standard pick-up or delivery schedule in place, you and your staff must spend valuable time scheduling them, which takes away time you could be spending providing an exceptional patient experience.

When your staff is spending more time coordinating pick-ups and deliveries than they are on patient care, that’s a sure sign your existing medical laundry inventory program doesn’t work. Outsourcing this responsibility has many benefits, but most importantly, it relieves you and your team’s concerns about having contaminated textiles on-site and potentially putting patients and staff at risk.

You Don’t Have an Inventory Management Program in Place At All

You know your existing medical laundry inventory program definitely isn’t working if it’s nonexistent!

Not having an inventory management program in place can affect your facility in a variety of different ways. Instead of focusing on providing exceptional care and comfort to patients, your staff will be tasked with responsibilities like:

  • Tracking down missing or lost scrubs
  • Trying to determine what’s clean vs. what’s contaminated
  • Scheduling pick-ups of contaminated textiles
  • Coordinating deliveries of clean textiles

And if you don’t use a laundry service, your staff will need to wash contaminated textiles and linens themselves, putting them at risk of infection.

Streamline Your Medical Laundry Inventory Program Today

If any of these reasons ring true for your facility, it’s time to start thinking about how you can streamline and more effectively manage your medical laundry inventory program. If you’re not ready to invest in HLAC-accredited laundering, ensuring that you’re using compliant laundering techniques is a good start.

But choosing to outsource your medical laundry and inventory has many proven benefits, from financial to operational and even environmental—that even on-premise laundering can’t provide.

For help evaluating your medical laundry program and determining the right next steps for your organization, read our eBook: Smart Inventory Solutions for Outpatient Healthcare Centers.

Written by Nixon Medical

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