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Effective Linen Inventory Management: Understanding The Basics

Ensuring that you have the right gowns, sheets and linens in stock for your patients and staff may sound simple, but too often in healthcare environments, medical linen inventory management is mishandled.

When it comes to running a medical practice, the details count--and no details are more important than the gowns, linens and blankets provided to your patients. If your facility runs out of inventory, if you don’t have the proper professional uniforms and scrubs for your staff, if the cleanliness of your linens and gowns is an issue – you’ve got real problems.

The best way to prevent these issues is to employ the help of a professional medical laundry service. But keep in mind: Creating and maintaining effective inventory flow requires some action on your end, too. To avoid a stressful build-up of inventory mismanagement, follow these tips for forming and stabilizing a successful inventory process.

Match Linen Inventory With Weekly Patient Load

Your patient counts are likely to change on a weekly basis, so make sure your medical linen inventory runs in agreement with these numbers. If you don’t ensure a balanced inventory-to-patient ratio every week, you end up paying for excess, unused linens.

Learn How ImageFIRST Prevents Excess, Unused Linens

Sometimes, medical practices end up with a monthly surplus of oversized gowns. And, it’s not usually because you’ve miscalculated the patient counts. Only 10 to 15 percent of patients are overweight, but some healthcare laundry services purposely provide additional oversized gowns. They reap extra revenue, and you’re left fitting patients of all sizes into oversized gowns. Communicate with your laundry service to prevent unnecessary delivery and inventory overload.

Ensure The Right Products For Individual Procedures

Different medical scenarios require different medical garments. Your nurses don’t wear the same uniforms as your doctors, and your surgical procedures require a different number of medical linens than, say, annual check-ups. Make sure your product numbers align with scheduled procedures.

Know What You Use Vs. What You Pay For

Beware of the unclear invoice. With your busy schedule, your laundry invoice is probably not something that receives significant day-to-day attention. Instead of skimming through your laundry service bills, take a deeper dive into those numbers: Does your laundry service tell you exactly what you use on a weekly basis or just throw the bills your way? Next time you receive your laundry invoice, take the time to study the specific charges and see if they match up with your weekly linen load.

Medical linen inventory management is a job easily performed by healthcare laundry services. But it is extremely beneficial for you to understand the basics behind inventory management. This allows you to maintain day-to-day operations without having to worry about or take time to deal with, any sudden linen shortages or unnecessary charges.

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