Cringeworthy exposés have shined a (black) light on bedbugs and other mattress-cleanliness problems in the hotel industry. Turns out hospitals have their own dirty little secret – contaminated bedding.

More than just an ick-factor, contaminated bedding is a significant contributor to hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). Contaminated mattresses were named as a leading infection-control issue among the Top 10 Health Technology Hazards, according to ECRI Institute (, a patient safety and medical technology research organization.

Indeed, Columbia University researchers found that a patient in a bed previously occupied by someone with an infection ups that patient’s own risk of infection by a whopping 583%.

And that’s not all. Bloodborne pathogens coming from mattress-fluid exposure also can lead to cross-contamination. If gloves aren’t used to make beds, for instance, healthcare workers can transfer bacteria from one bed to the next – or even to other surfaces, putting the safety of both employees and patients at risk.

The CDC recommends combating this problem with more aggressive infection-control measures, starting with cleaning mattresses more thoroughly and regularly inspecting mattress covers for leaks.

Healthcare safety and risk management technology can be a big help. This technology can be used to track and manage the inspection process to make sure every mattress and cover is cleaned properly and on schedule. The findings and corrective actions can then be automatically incorporated into your overall infection control, patient safety, and enterprise risk management initiatives.

With an integrated solution, you can easily add mattress inspections into your regular patient safety and environment-of-care rounding efforts, aggregate that data, and even correlate it against HAI incident rates to target areas of improvement, as well as to demonstrate the outcomes of your inspection efforts.

The right healthcare safety and risk management technology can help you find the problems faster, fix them more effectively – and show a convincing ROI. And it works for more than just dirty mattresses.