Supply chain tip of the week: Hospital linens cost more than you think

The cost of linen and linen reprocessing can represent 2 to 3 percent of a hospital's total annual budget, and linen is the second largest expense in nursing departments outside of labor, according to Tom Fox, a managing director at healthcare consulting firm Novia Strategies.

He shared the following tip with Becker's Hospital Review.

"Whether you outsource or handle your linen reprocessing internally, the costs of utilities, labor and equipment are continuing to rise, impacting the cost of cleaning and distributing linen. Effectively managing not only the cost of linen replacement and processing, but also the overall utilization of linen, can generate significant savings for organizations that implement effective controls and monitoring systems.

"Hospital managers can more effectively manage the usage of linen in their departments, both by selecting the appropriate products for their patients and by setting up department-specific linen utilization dashboards that provide insight into how the linen is used, the quantity used, as well as how these measures are impacted by departmental volumes. Many hospital managers have addressed this issue by developing a hospitalwide utilization policy. While that is a good starting point, they can capture additional utilization gains by setting department-specific targets and managing them closely. As some departments have different usage than others, managing linen costs at this level can reveal additional cost-saving opportunities."

If you would like to submit a supply chain tip, please email Mackenzie Bean at

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