When it comes to medical scrubs and medical linens, many outpatient medical facilities fall victim to the misconception that owning is better than renting. Before you make a decision, be sure you have a full understanding of the responsibilities associated with managing your own inventory of scrubs and linens. The more you learn about the implications of owning your medical linens, the more you’re going to realize that renting from a medical laundry service may be a better option for your facility.
Consider the following advantages of renting your medical linens instead of owning:
1. Flexible Ordering
Your patient load isn't always consistent. It fluctuates based on environmental, economic and even societal changes. For example, allergists see a dramatic rise in patient load in the spring, cardiologists face more blood pressure spikes during an economic downturn and maternity units (or birthing centers) experience greater numbers of childbirths approximately nine months after large-scale catastrophes.
Since your patient load varies, your supply of medical scrubs and hospital linens should, too. Partnering with a medical laundry service is a smart way to make sure you have all the linens you need, when you need them, without the exorbitant cost of buying new textiles in bulk before the "busy season" starts.
2. Inventory Management
You have a practice to run. There’s no time for scrambling to fill the gaps in your inventory of medical scrubs. But maintaining your inventory of quality patient gowns and linens is important for ensuring patient satisfaction.
Choose an expert to evaluate your laundry usage and design the right program to fit your facility's needs. A professional medical laundry service should ensure that you have the right patient gowns and scrubs for your varying procedures and that your inventory is stocked to suit your patient load. This includes determining the proper ratio of average-to-oversized patient gowns and adjusting your inventory in response to changes in your facility.
3. Infection Prevention
The pathogens that cause HAI are virulent and hardy. They're gram-positive bacteria, which means they have a protective protein coat that makes them resistant to many medications and chemicals. They're survivors. In fact, Staphylococcus aureus (the culprit behind MRSA infections) and a particularly virulent strain of Enterococci called VRE (vancomycin-resistant Enterococci) are able to survive for up to 90 days on medical scrubs and other hospital textiles.
To ensure patient safety and satisfaction, you need a consistently sanitized, clean inventory of hospital linens. Ridding your medical scrubs, patient gowns and linens of these pathogens isn't easy: It requires specially designed chemicals that are exclusively available to medical laundry service providers. Detergents should destroy 99.999% of pathogens, and a protective coating should be applied to reduce the ability of bacteria to adhere to and proliferate on textiles. [link to: http://www.imagefirst.com/Triple-BioShield-Protection/]
4. Customer Service
The process behind cleaning your medical linens is not your forte, and it doesn't need to be. Instead of juggling the complexities of inventory, cleanliness and quality control, you'd be smart to choose a medical laundry service to take care of it.
There is a caveat: The provider must be reliable and responsive. If you have questions or concerns, the laundry company should be dedicated to providing you with the right answer, right away. You have to feel confident that your medical linens are in good hands, your patient safety is not at risk and your linen service is actively working in the best interest of your facility.
5. Patient Experience
Part of the overall patient experience is initial perception. Patients may not always know why they feel negatively toward a facility, but the reasoning is almost irrelevant. If they have a poor perception of your facility, your patient satisfaction scores suffer.
Many factors influence patient perception, including your patient gowns and linens. If your linens are torn, stained or dull, your patients see your facility as unclean. Do you know when to discard old linens? Are you trading out bed sheets when they've lost their bright white luster? Who is checking for rips and stains in your inventory? Without a medical laundry service, it's easy to let quality assurance get lost in the shuffle of daily operations – and your patient satisfaction declines as a result.
6. Patient Comfort
Patient comfort is also important for patient satisfaction, and the quality of your patient gowns has a significant impact on how comfortable your patients feel. Thin, flimsy gowns negatively affect patient comfort because they highlight the feelings of vulnerability and nervousness that accompany medical procedures. By choosing a medical laundry service, you have access to a wide range of plush options to keep your patients relaxed, comfortable and satisfied.
7. Predictable Budgeting
The costs associated with your inventory of patient gowns, medical scrubs and bed linens become oppressive when you're managing it yourself. Your budget takes a hit every time you need to replace old or torn linens, especially if you have to make last-minute purchases at retail locations.
By renting your medical scrubs, you're able to predict your costs and budgets easily. Some medical laundry service providers offer flat monthly fees based on how much linen you have in inventory. You have access to all the linens you need, when you need them.
The bottom line: Partnering with a professional medical laundry service that provides quality medical gowns and linens for your patients is immensely beneficial for your facility, short- and long-term. That means that the decision between renting or owning your medical scrubs and linens isn't really a choice at all.
To learn more about high-quality medical scrubs, linens and gowns, contact the experts at ImageFIRST. We’re dedicated to providing you with exceptional medical laundry services to suit your needs so you’re free to focus on running your facility and keeping your patients comfortable. You're taking care of your patients; let us take care of your linens. Call 1.800.408.0370 or click the link below to contact us.