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Keeping Scrubs in the Hospital

Hunt Regional Healthcare rolls out ScrubTrak system to curb scrub loss

Before 2017, Hunt Regional Healthcare relied on a manual system for checking out and returning scrubs. The system was simple. Scrubs were kept in a cabinet. Physicians, nurses and techs checked them out when needed.

But recently, leadership at the Greenville, Texas-based health system, which includes Hunt Regional Medical Center and several ancillary facilities, noticed an alarming trend with their approach.

“Human error is inevitable,” says Ryan Madewell, director of environmental services for Hunt Regional Healthcare. “We were losing scrubs faster than we should have been.”

Scrubs can be easily misplaced, and — with no way to keep track of the inventory — simple errors add up quickly for hospitals. Over time, lost scrubs contribute to higher costs and lost productivity.

Leaders at Hunt Regional Healthcare were ready to make a change.

Choosing ScrubTrak

As healthcare providers face rising costs and consumer expectations, automated systems are one solution helping facilities reduce human error and deliver more efficient care without sacrificing quality.

For Madewell and his team at Hunt Regional Healthcare, automation seemed like an ideal solution to the problem of missing scrubs. “We began inquiring about automated systems for managing scrubs,” he says.

One of the systems they evaluated was ScrubTrak. The automated scrub management system works much like a standard vending machine, providing doctors, nurses and technicians fast and easy access to clean scrubs and allowing them to return used scrubs. It includes separate dispensing machines and return machines, which can be strategically placed throughout healthcare facilities.

To determine if Scrub Trak was a good fit, Madewell’s team analyzed the system’s various features. They discovered the following benefits:

Ease of use. ScrubTrak machines are compatible with whatever access system is already in place at your healthcare facility. If your hospital uses a key card system, for example, you can set up ScrubTrak to use that same key card system. The same is true for pin pad systems. This means healthcare providers and their staff don’t need any special training to use ScrubTrak — just their existing access credentials. The machines operate as easily and intuitively as any standard vending machine.

Improved efficiency. ScrubTrak eliminates the need for manual inventory monitoring. All ScrubTrak machines operate on a cloud-based system designed to track and handle inventory management, ensuring the required number of scrubs is always available. An automated check-out and check-in process tracks returns made by authorized users using built-in delivery verification sensors and an optional video recording feature. It also prevents unauthorized users from using the dispensing machine. Administrators can even program the system to send email and mobile alerts on inventory levels. Best of all, healthcare providers can use the cloud-based system whether they implement ScrubTrak at one facility or in different departments across multiple facilities.

Infection prevention. ScrubTrak can play a key role in hospital’s infection prevention strategy. By carefully placing return machines throughout a facility, you can ensure staff don’t need to carry dirty scrubs very far — helping decrease the likelihood that pathogens will spread. The automated return process also discourages staff from taking scrubs home to wash themselves. Scrubs can remain in the hospital to be laundered by machines and staff equipped to handle contaminated textiles.

Cost savings. By virtually eliminating the problem of scrub loss, ScrubTrak helps hospitals and health systems save money, improved productivity and spend less on scrubs each year.

After evaluating the system, Madewell’s team agreed to roll out ScrubTrak at Hunt Regional Medical Center, beginning in October 2017. The hospital installed two dispensers and one return machine next to its operating rooms. “We chose ScrubTrak because it was the best fit,” Madewell says.

Implementation and future expansion

Overall, the implementation process was smooth, Madewell says. Staff members were informed about the change via email, and ScrubTrak officially became the new scrub system for the hospital’s ORs.

After several months using the system, Hunt Regional Medical Center is already seeing benefits such as improved efficiency around scrub use and greater convenience to staff.

“It is easier for us to keep track of our stock,” Madewell explains. “The scrubs are always there in the sizes you need.”

Though the hospital is still in the early phases of working with ScrubTrak, Madewell is pleased with the progress so far. “When things change, there is always a certain amount of pushback, but this was an easy transition process.”

Madewell says he expects to begin expansion discussions within the year, potentially expanding the use of ScrubTrak machines to different departments throughout the health system.

“We are happy to be part of the ScrubTrak program and hope it can be used in more hospitals,” he says.

Ryan Madewell is the environmental services director for Hunt Regional Healthcare. He has been a part of the Hunt Regional team since 2011 and has more than seven years of experience in the environmental services field.