Publication describes an outpatient phlebotomy staffing tool

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“Used in conjunction with patient wait-time and satisfaction data, our outpatient phlebotomy staffing tool is an accurate and flexible way to assess capacity and to improve patient wait times.” Mijailovic et al (2014).

Reference:

Mijailovic, A.S., Tanasijevic, M.J., Goonan, E.M., Le, R.D., Baum, J.M. and Melanson, S.E. (2014) Optimizing Outpatient Phlebotomy Staffing: Tools to Assess Staffing Needs and Monitor Effectiveness. Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine. 138(7), p.929-935.

Abstract:

Context: Short patient wait times are critical for patient satisfaction with outpatient phlebotomy services. Although increasing phlebotomy staffing is a direct way to improve wait times, it may not be feasible or appropriate in many settings, particularly in the context of current economic pressures in health care.

Objective: To effect sustainable reductions in patient wait times, we created a simple, data-driven tool to systematically optimize staffing across our 14 phlebotomy sites with varying patient populations, scope of service, capacity, and process workflows.

Design: We used staffing levels and patient venipuncture volumes to derive the estimated capacity, a parameter that helps predict the number of patients a location can accommodate per unit of time. We then used this parameter to determine whether a particular phlebotomy site was overstaffed, adequately staffed, or understaffed. Patient wait-time and satisfaction data were collected to assess the efficacy and accuracy of the staffing tool after implementing the staffing changes.

Results: In this article, we present the applications of our approach in 1 overstaffed and 2 understaffed phlebotomy sites. After staffing changes at previously understaffed sites, the percentage of patients waiting less than 10 minutes ranged from 88% to 100%. At our previously overstaffed site, we maintained our goal of 90% of patients waiting less than 10 minutes despite staffing reductions. All staffing changes were made using existing resources.

Conclusions: Used in conjunction with patient wait-time and satisfaction data, our outpatient phlebotomy staffing tool is an accurate and flexible way to assess capacity and to improve patient wait times.

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