"The study provides a basis for the modification of a number of phlebotomists in order to ensure optimal patient service" Toomukuntla et al (2023).
How many phlebotomists do you need


Introduction: Phlebotomy, i.e., the collection of blood samples, is one of the most commonly performed procedures in almost all hospital settings. The phlebotomy center is the first point of contact for patient samples with the laboratory services. The patient load visiting the phlebotomy center of a rapidly developing hospital is very variable and unpredictable. This leads to staffing issues related to a number of phlebotomists. The actual phlebotomy procedure requires only a few minutes, but the total time includes the patient’s arrival to departure from the phlebotomy center. In this study, we have attempted to assess the adequacy of the number of phlebotomists in our sample collection center and to determine how many patients can be attended to comfortably by each phlebotomist. As the sample load increases, the burden on phlebotomists also increases, and they may or may not express the strain of it. We attempted to determine the cut-off patient numbers above which request for additional personnel has to be put into the hospital administration.

Materials and methods: This was a prospective, hospital-based, observational study carried out in the outpatient sample collection center section at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bibinagar, Telangana, over a period of one month, i.e., December 2022. The movement of 1200 patients was observed for the phlebotomy procedure. Patient details, the time taken for registration, waiting time, and phlebotomy time were noted, along with the hindering factors in the phlebotomy center.

Observations and results: There were 680 males and 520 females. The mean time for patient arrival to departure from the phlebotomy center and the mean waiting time was 9.8 minutes and 6.5 minutes, respectively. Various reasons for increased phlebotomy time were pediatric patients, anxious patients, postprandial sample patients, difficulty in finding veins, etc. Though the estimated capacity of the phlebotomy center is apparently satisfactory with four personnel, many hidden causes for time loss were observed. Conclusion: An adequate number of trained and effective phlebotomists is the first step in ensuring the success of any laboratory service, and while deciding on this “adequate number,” not only the direct effort, but also the indirect effort, operational needs and emergencies have to be kept in mind. Each phlebotomist in a six-hour shift can comfortably attend 30 to 35 outpatients for phlebotomy. When this number exceeds it, additional staff has to be added. Adopting measures to reduce the waiting time for phlebotomy procedures will improve the phlebotomy center’s service. The study provides a basis for the modification of a number of phlebotomists in order to ensure optimal patient service.


Toomukuntla S, Vemula CV, Patil P, Somalwar SB, Rathod G, Prabhala S. Assessment of the Number of Phlebotomists in a Newly Established Sample Collection Center. Cureus. 2023 Aug 11;15(8):e43323. doi: 10.7759/cureus.43323. PMID: 37700974; PMCID: PMC10493005.