Healthcare Case Study

Health System in San Antonio Saves Over $200,000 in Linen [Case Study]

Overview

Hospital operations usually assign the management of linen to their environmental services (EVS) or material management departments. There are two problems with this:

  1. It hinders those departments’ ability to focus on core aspects of their roles — room turnaround times and HCAHPS for EVS, and JIT or LUoM for materials management

  2. It results in the overuse, misuse, and loss of linen in the hospital

HHS recognized this widespread issue and developed a solution that solves this problem. 

After 18 months of testing and getting input from clinicians, caregivers, and nurses, we developed a cloud-based solution,  ThreadCount, and a three-phased engagement model that’s led to groundbreaking results.

The program is called Linen Utilization Management (LUM), and it has helped hospitals reduce linen consumption, save money, increase linen availability, improve linen quality, and boost clinician satisfaction.

Let’s examine the implementation and results of the LUM program at four hospitals within a health system in San Antonio, Texas, where we achieved a substantial reduction in usage and costs for each facility.

Challenges and Opportunities

This health system dealt with many of the issues common in hospitals and health systems across the country.

Financial loss

Hoarding

Inventory control

Inaccurate par levels

Inaccurate usage data reporting

Nursing dissatisfaction

Poor linen quality

No dedicated contact for laundry provider


Solutions

The health system partnered with HHS to implement our LUM program. Here’s how it worked.

Phase 1: Identifying Opportunities

HHS deployed professionally trained linen managers at four hospitals within the health system who conducted a thorough evaluation of each facility’s linen operations to identify where they could make improvements, change behavior, and create a culture focused on stewardship. This process included:

  • Building relationships with administrative and clinical staff
  • Conducting a linen satisfaction survey during the first week of the program
  • Understanding how clinical staff currently use linen
  • Gathering information on what methods they prefer and why
  • Creating a linen committee and holding regular meetings
  • Collaborative rounding

Phase 2: Providing Tailored Solutions

Once the managers completed their evaluations, they began the implementation process, which included the following:

  • Using ThreadCount to track and monitor daily linen use and waste
  • Tailoring our solutions — based on information gathered in phase one — to best serve the needs of clinicians and patients
  • Ensuring linen wasn’t thrown out or improperly disposed to minimize lost linen penalties
  • Serving as the liaison between the hospital and the laundry plant
  • Ordering linen based on facility needs and made adjustments to account for ebbs and flows in census
  • Establishing performance indicators to measure benchmarks
  • Ensuring clinical teams had what they needed when they needed it
  • Providing patients with quality linen

Phase 3: Sustaining Success

Once the program was up and running, the last step was sustaining momentum and continually improving. Maintaining and optimizing success required a shift in the hospital’s culture regarding linen use and management. HHS’ linen managers sustain this culture shift in two ways.

  • Conduct surveys to measure end-user satisfaction
  • Regularly engage and educate clinical staff to influence behavior, grow linen awareness, and ultimately change the culture
  • Monitor performance and adjust processes implemented in phase two as necessary

Results

Here are the results we’ve achieved for the four hospitals, as well as the total numbers for the system.

Anonymous LUM-Graphs_hospital 1

Anonymous LUM-Graphs_hospital 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Anonymous LUM-Graphs_hospital 4Anonymous LUM-Graphs_overall health systemLearn more about HHS' Linen Utilization Management Program.