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Categories:  Healthcare Linens Linen Management Savings 

Some measurements are so big or so small that they defy normal comprehension.  Most people are familiar with light-years -- used in inter-stellar measurement.  One light-year is a distance of approximately six trillion miles.  Today, with the Hubble telescope, we can see galaxies that are billions of light-years away.  On the other end of the scale is the Angstrom, a unit of length used in molecular physics.  The human hair is on the order of one million Angstroms in diameter.

Here are some other numbers that are just as impressive if you are involved in any aspect of hospital care:  Almost 90% of all linen used in U.S. hospitals "disappears" before it reaches the end of its useful life, and the annual cost of this lost linen is estimated at $840 million!

There are 5,686 registered hospitals in the U.S. with 914,513 staffed beds*.  A straight-forward calculation yields an estimate of $920 of lost linen annually per bed.  For the "average" 160-bed hospital, that represents potential annual savings of $140,000 from managing linens better.  A readily-achievable goal would be to cut linen losses in half for a $70,000 savings.  Another way to look at this is, with the median hospital operating margin hovering at about 2%, a revenue increase of $3.5 million would be needed to have the same positive impact as a $70,000 reduction in lost linen.

TRSA (formerly Textile Rental Services Association of America), a trade association representing linen management and textile services companies, has produced a brief video highlighting the problem of linen loss.  (View it here or on the TRSA website or on YouTube.)

 

For further insight about effective linen management and potential savings, see the September 2014 posting on the topic in Paris News and Perspective or contact Paris.

* American Hospital Association, 2014 Fast Facts on US Hospitals


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