Providing healthcare linen services to more than 4,000 customers across the United States, Angelica Corp. is the largest and longest-serving company in its market. Angelica has taken a position of market leadership by providing superior product and service quality.

“That is easy for anyone to claim, but it is harder to actually execute while delivering more than a billion pieces of linen per year,” President and CEO David Van Vliet says. “This is not a service that can be imported as we pick up soiled linen daily, replace it with clean linen and process the soiled linen for a return to the medical provider.”

Above and Beyond

Angelica has developed unique and advanced laundering processes, allowing it to produce linens that exceed industry standards for cleanliness. This is critical for healthcare providers, and the company serves a wide range of clients – from acute-care medical systems to medical clinics and other outpatient caregivers – as it assists in infection prevention. Angelica cleans all linens to a disinfected level. 

In a time of uncertainty and cuts in reimbursements, healthcare providers are seeking lower total linen costs per patient served while increasing the cleanliness of the linen. Angelica says its exclusive, trademarked AngelTrak linen management system drives wasted expense out and provides the cleanest, highest-quality linens to influence patient satisfaction at the best cost per patient day. 

“Angelica delivers a full range of healthcare linens every day of the year to hospitals and outpatient providers,” Van Vliet says. “Angelica ships hundreds of products ranging from patient-repositioning devices and caregiver garments to cleaning linens and bedding.”

Today, Angelica, with its national footprint, is the only general line healthcare linen supplier with its RFID technology-enabled AngelTrak Linen System that identifies sources of linen waste so they can be eliminated or minimized. AngelTrak has been proven to reduce medical system and individual facility linen costs by 10 to 25 percent while enabling accurate inventory management. 

“Linens are the final frontier for accurate inventory counts, as every other product is included in the medical system’s ERP system or are otherwise metered,” Van Vliet says. “Now, for the first time, linen inventories are accurately measured. This is a major advancement for this industry and creates savings per patient day.” 

Advancing the Cause

Among the key investments that Angelica has been making into the organization is an ongoing process of making its laundries RFID enabled, installing the hardware, software and chipped linens to empower AngelTrak. Additionally, Angelica is training its representatives on the software and analytics to provide unmatched data review and linen advice on waste-reducing actions to be used to save medical systems valuable funds. Excess stockpiled linens are reduced and FIFO is used to serve fresh linens to all patients.

“Medical systems are demanding better value, and AngelTrak is providing that answer,” Van Vliet says. “Our competitors are using scare tactics to suggest that RFID is not a benefit, but ask any of our customers already using AngelTrak if they would prefer to go back to the days when inventory was unknown and waste areas couldn’t be identified.”

Van Vliet says one major medical system remarked that leaving AngelTrak would be like taking all computers and smartphones away, as AngelTrak is the first ERP system for linen. Combining technology-enabled data collection and analytics provides sophisticated buyers with the efficient linen management they have been seeking. He explains that customers using AngelTrak are experiencing a high percentage of lower linen cost per patient day by acting on now available information. 

It has been eye-opening for Angelica’s customers to learn how much linen gets thrown away in Red Bags at a high cost, sent out in the trash, or squirreled away in cabinets. Prior to AngelTrak, all of these costs ultimately were billed to healthcare providers. Now the wasteful costs are prevented. 

The biggest challenge facing Angelica is the fact that the way it manages linen now is not the way that it managed linen before. In many parts of the country, the business is priced on a cents-per-pound basis. Van Vliet says that makes as much sense as pricing pharmaceuticals per pound. 

He says progressive-thinking managers are kicking the tires and realizing that AngelTrak is the best value because about 25 to 33 percent of costs in linen services are pure wasted expense. Cutting that waste and offering the savings to those who are addressing it are what Angelica believes are the right way for this industry to go. 

“Medical systems know that spending funds on new revenue-generating equipment is a better avenue than wasting dollars on poor linen management,” Van Vliet says. “AngelTrak will allow us to introduce more value-enhancing products. We are very excited about bringing major advancements to our customers so we can help them be successful. The new idea enables this old concept to be achieved.”

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