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Laundry Service Leases RFID-Tagged Linens to Barcelona Hospitals

A system from UBI Solutions enables Interhospitalia to receive, launder and ship up to one million tagged linen items to 22 area hospitals, and to track each one.
By Claire Swedberg
Mar 15, 2020

Spanish hospital services company Interhospitalia provides linens and laundry services for 22 Barcelona hospitals by leasing its one million flat linens, uniforms and gowns for use by health-care providers and patients. By tracking the goods via RFID technology, the company is able to manage the status of each linen as it arrives at and leaves a hospital, as well as the laundering services at its own facility.

Traditionally, each hospital owned its own linens, which were laundered by Interhospitalia and then returned to that facility. Interhospitalia, however, was interested in increasing its volume and providing a different model. The laundry company owns the linens it washes and provides to hospitals at a fee, and with the use of RFID it can automatically identify each item and thus manage where linens go and when they return. The system is provided by technology company UBI Solutions.

By employing the RFID system, Interhospitalia can bill customers according to the number of linens the use, and for the cost of any item that goes missing while in a particular hospital's custody. The UBI RFID solution was launched a year ago with UHF RFID tags sewn onto flat linens, and hospitals are now beginning to use handheld readers to gain further data about when linens arrive at and leave their own facilities, says Renaud Munier, UBI Solutions' international business development director. In the future, patient gowns and worker uniforms are also expected to be tagged and tracked via RFID. New products come into the system with tags already applied by the supplier.

Thus far, approximately 40 percent of all linens are being tracked. Since the system was taken live, says Raul Asla, Interhospitalia's managing director, the company has been able to use the collected data not only to view the location and status of each item in real time, but also to gain historical data that can help it make its processes more efficient. "We have control over linens in a way that we would never have imaged before," he states. "Now, we can know where the linen gets stuck, where it is lost," and how long it takes to complete a washing cycle.

Traditionally, Interhospitalia simply washed products arriving from numerous hospitals at its facility, then returned those items to the hospital that owned them once laundered. The company envisioned a more efficient model, however. It visited a firm in Paris, France, that was using UBI Solutions' technology to provide full linen management, and it decided to launch the same system in Barcelona.

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