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By: amidev December 29, 2017 0 Comment.

Finding A Home In Healthcare Textiles

Healthcare opportunities are growing, but to participate, new entrants must meet basic requirements

Surviving in today’s uncertain economy could mean repositioning your company a bit, and tooling up for markets you can expand into that are beyond your core business. Healthcare continues to be a bright spot in the textile rental universe, and a good part of this market is accessible from typical industrial or linen supply providers.

In light of their growing and aging patient base, healthcare facilities are using more of everything, especially reusable textiles. And in their never-ending search for cost- savings, healthcare organizations are more receptive than ever to new providers of textile products.

They’d rather use the funds to build new patient rooms. An outside reusable textile provider could help manage utilization and standardize products and procedures over multiple departments and branch facilities. At the end of the day, the goal is to provide the highest level of patient care with the greatest economy. This trend is expected to continue as the high cost of health care stays in the spotlight. In essence, this part of the economy is actually growing and not expected to slow down anytime soon. If you’ve looked at healthcare before, it may be time to look again. And if you haven’t considered this potential revenue stream, here’s a briefing on how to

At the end of the day, the goal is to provide the highest level of patient care with the greatest economy.

Over the years, more and more healthcare facilities have decided to close on-premise laundries(OPLs) in favor of rental programs to save money. Institutions already outsourcing is now shopping for better solutions as well. These changes spell opportunity for textile services companies. How about a win for our team?!

OUTSOURCING FUELS GROWTH

Across the country, many organizations are taking the laundry out of healthcare facilities- to cut costs and concentrate on patient care. Former laundry space is being converted to revenue-generating areas. Some facilities that have outgrown old laundry setup choose not to invest the capital to modernize and expand capacity.

understand and target the market in your area.  We also offer resources to help you learn the healthcare business, and some approaches your sales team can use to get into the game. This is a dynamic market right now, and change brings opportunity for those who are knowledgeable and nimble.

Healthcare includes more than just hospitals. You may find a market with doctor and dental offices, nursing homes, assisted-living communities, surgery centers and clinics, home care, or any of a host of others. Generally, these alternate-site accounts use a narrower selection of items and have a smaller overall volume. And best of all, they are far easier to cut your teeth on than hospital accounts. Without investing in a broad line of products and

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Some healthcare providers that have outgrown their OPLs are reluctant to invest in new equipment. This opens the way for outsourcing to textile service companies.

developing a full-scale healthcare processing operation, there are many ways to get into healthcare provided that you follow practices necessary to prevent the transmission of potentially dangerous microorganisms. Doctor’s offices and clinics may be looking just for lab coats and scrubs for the staff. Assisted-living facilities might be interested in bed and bath linen, and if you are already serving hotel and motel clients, you’ve got 90% of what nursing homes are looking for. Target the housekeeping or janitorial area of any health care facility and provide microfiber towels and mops. These have benefits that make them an ideal product for healthcare. Because of concern about infection control, healthcare providers will appreciate that microfiber maps eliminate over 99% of germs from the floor.

They also clean better than traditional string mops. Moreover, microfiber mops are lighter weight, easier for staff to use and provide chemical, water and energy savings to the client and the laundry as well. They typically provide longer wear life, easier processing, and higher revenue and profitability as well. The healthcare industry

includes many smaller, or niche providers. One that’s often overlooked is hospice care. Some hospice organizations have small facilities with 10 or 20 beds for end-of-life around-the-clock care. You can specialize just in bed and bath linen for these facilities. Dialysis centers and other specialized treatment facilities are great targets for a lab coat and scrubs programs. How about partnering with the home-care nursing provider? Supply them with nurses’ scrubs and offer bed and bath linens for their clients as well. Whichever you choose, put the goal of patient care first, and you’ll have the best chance for success in exploring healthcare for new business opportunities.

Analyze the healthcare opportunities in your market area by looking at the differing levels of care they offer. The care that’s provided determines what linen products and services the facility are going to need. The number of potential clients your drivers already pass every day will surprise you. Whatmore, to get started with entry-level accounts requires only a small investment in new product categories.

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Above, left: Proper processing and storage of linens greatly reduces the risk of microorganisms ending up on linens that could pose a risk of spreading hospital-based ‘nosocomial’ infections. These infections are difficult and costly to treat. Right: Healthcare textile processing encompasses more than just hospitals. Surgicenters, nursing homes, assisted living, hospice centers, and other venues use lots of linen and can benefit from laundry outsourcing that allows them to concentrate on patient care.

In some cases, you already have the product in your offering! If not, once you enter the market, these “new” products become core, and therefore assignable to other target accounts.

FOCUS ON SAFETY

All customers want to clean linen. In that sense, processing healthcare linen in ‘tall that different from other markets. However, laundries that process healthcare goods must meet standards set by regulatory agencies that focus on this sector. Most commercial laundries already meet these standards or can do so by modifying practices as required to meet the demands for healthcare linens. For example, to market to healthcare, you must be able to discuss how you’ll handle hospital linens to minimize any risk of hospital-acquired infections. These are infections that a patient acquires after entering a healthcare facility. They area hot-button issue for hospitals and the main regulatory agency that accredits healthcare facilities JCAHOQoint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) because they’re costly and difficult to treat.

U.S. government agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and private groups, including the Healthcare LaundryAccreditation Council (HLAC) and the Association for Professionals infection Control and Epidemiology(APIC) have developed guidelines for handling ” soiled and clean” linens. For example, these guidelines recommend bagging soiled linen and keeping it completely separate from clean linens in the delivery truck, or in the processing plant. Occupational Safety and Health

Administration (OSHA)regulations require that employees wear reusable rubber, rather than disposable latex gloves when handling soiled linen because the latter may not withstand the rigors of handling heavy loads and may tear too easily.

This rule is part of OSHA’s “universal precautions” for dealing with potential workplace exposure to bloodborne pathogens (BBP). In 29-CFR part 1910.1030, you’ll find detailed requirements for employers to provide training, access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and plans to follow the event that an employee is exposed to BBP. (See the list of web resources, including www.safetrsa.org and several government agencies, on pg. 34for more information.)

Soiled linen at the laundry needs to be handled in a manner consistent with these standards, including hand washing and the use of gloves, gowns and other protective equipment to prevent exposure to BBP. You also need a written plan for dealing with discarded medical devices such as hypodermic needles or scalpels that may end up in the soiled laundry by mistake. The plans for dealing with these “sharps” must comply with state medical waste regulations. The laundry also must have containers in the soil sort area where employees can put sharps, and employees must be trained in on how to handle and dispose of sharps. Looking at the levels of customers identified earlier, the need for universal precautions is determined by the treatment the patients receive at each facility. If there is any possibility that linen will contain blood or other bodily fluids, universal precautions are necessary.

LEVELS OF HEALTHCARE

Level l: Doctors Offices

Level 2: Clinics

Level 3: Specialty Surgery and Service Centers

Level 4: Nursing Homes and Hospices

Level 5: Hospitals

WHERE TO START (KEY CONTACTS PER TARGET LEVEL)

Level 1: Doctors offices-office manager, purchasing manager.

Level 2: Clinics-office manager, purchasing manager

Level 3: Specialty surgery and service centers-materials manager, the clinical resource manager

Level 4: Nursing homes and hospices-environmental services manager, materials manager, director of nursing, housekeeping, infection control, administrator

Level 5: Hospitals-environmental services, materials management, the clinical value analysis committee, infection control, chief nursing officer, CFOs, administrators.

CORE HEALTHCARE ITEMS

Level 1: Doctor Offices
– Lab Coats
– Scrub Tops & Bottoms
– Warm-up Jackets

-Microfiber Mops
-Microfiber Cleaning Cloths (or Cotton)

Level 2: Clinics
– Lab Coats
– Scrub Tops & Bottoms
– Warm-up Jackets

-Microfiber Mops
-Microfiber Cleaning Cloths (or Cotton)

Level 3: Surgery & Service Cntr
– Sheets
– Pillowcases
– Patient Gowns

-Bath Blankets
-Scrub Top & Bottoms

Level 4: Nursing Homes & Hospices
– Sheets
– Pillowcases
– Towels

-Blankets
-Barrier Pads

Level 5: Hospitals
– Sheets
– Pillowcases
– Towels

-Blankets
-Barrier Pads
-Scrub Tops & Bottoms
-Patient Gowns

For more information, contact Steve “KBach” Kallenbach at American Dawn 800-821-2221 or skallenbach@americandawn.com

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