• Investigating the laundry logistics system of small-sized public hospital: Can the efficiency of operations be improved under the constraints of Thailand’s administrative culture?

      Bandoophanit, Thianthip; Breen, Liz; Naipinit, A.; Pila-Ngarm, P.; Permwanichagun, P.; Saenchaiyathon, K. (2017)
      Purpose All internal logistics systems contribute to the overall success of healthcare service delivery; laundry management (as a closed loop logistics system) is a critical system which facilitates patient recovery and rehabilitation. Studies indicate that applying efficiency measures/improvement tools in such systems, can deliver financial savings and strengthening of in-house competencies (Banerjea-Brodeur et al. 1998; Golden et al. 2008). This study focuses on the review and improvement of laundry management systems in a Thailand Hospital and the organizational culture underpinning this. This hospital was awarded the highest level of hospital accreditation (high level of quality and environmental compliance within this site). Despite this, problems existed at a very basic level with the laundry management, which can undermine patient dignity and respect and increase risk infection and health complications. This study contributes to the Thai healthcare agenda, a core mission of which is to “Develop efficient and equitable integrated health service system for both normal situation and emergency with emphasis on basic rights, specialized service and emergency medicine, surveillance system, disease prevention and control and health threats” (MOPH 2003). Research Approach The key research methods employed include literature review, in-depth interview, observation, documentation and content analysis. A mixed methods methodology was considered appropriate for this study for a number of reasons including a lack of previous insight into this system and the number of actors involved. To this end a triangulated view of the laundry management system was realized. Findings and Originality Delays in the provision of linen and patient clothing (1-4 days bottleneck) were adversely affected by unstructured laundry operations, insufficient personnel, poor job design and worn-out equipment. As a result of this analysis several solutions were steadily implemented which led to: (i) linen shortage was reduced by 12.12% - 28.48%, and (ii) the total cleaning time per cycle was reduced by 130 minutes (45.12%). The impact of the improvement practices in place were perceived to be undermined by cultural factors such as very high internal conflict, the new hospital Director with relatively low power, and limited budget allocated to purchasing linen. Research Impacts Very few studies have explored a closed-loop supply chain of hospital laundry management systems, fewer collected data from key users using a mixed methods methodology. Reverse Exchanges (RE), a new theoretical framework, was adopted to examine the laundry processes. This study attempts to this study fill these gaps. Although this research studied one district hospital; the practices can be greatly generalized; and the diagram of laundry operations and this research design can be replicated. Practical Impacts Improvement measures have been identified which directly impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of this operation. Whilst this is once case study site analysis, this can offer a positive contribution to the healthcare agenda within this country.