RE: productivity standards

From:"Morken, Tim" <>

Hazel wrote: <I think productivity standards produce low morale.>

Another problem with productivity standards is that they are usually pushed
to the limit by the bean counters who want to save a salaries and benefits.
They tend to overlook the fact that overworked people make more mistakes and
cut corners to get work out - leading to substandard work and poor results.
They can do this because it is extemely difficult to quantitate the cost of
mistakes and poor work - especially in a hospitial where "repair" costs are
not passed back to the lab (unless you get a lawsuit of course!).

That being said, it is necessary to have a basic idea of what consititutes a
competent technologist in terms of work output. There has to be an
understanding of how many people it should take to get a certain quantity of
work out. I agree that it is very difficult to compare any two labs because
there are no standards on how tests are to be done. One lab may require one
H&E for a biopsy. Another may require 10 levels with interspersed special
stains for exactly the same biopsy. All you can do is look at the historical
data for your own lab and draw some generalizations from that. 

I suggest keeping meticulous records of your input (case load) and output
(blocks, slides, stains, etc) and then tracking that against your labor pool
and hours worked. With that information you can see how many people you need
for your lab (for instance,If you tend to use a lot of overtime  you may
need more people). I'm not convinced it is necessary to detail it down to a
specific tech, but that would certainly give you more information to go on.
I, personally, would rather make the average the goal for the
lower-performing techs, instead of trying to make everyone the same (your
best techs are the best for the same reason the best athletes are the best -
inate talent). If you recall, in cytology they now have to detail exactly
how many slides a tech is capable of screening in a given time - not what is
needed, but what a particular tech is capable of - a big difference.

So, no real answers here, just random thoughts!

Tim Morken

-----Original Message-----
From: Horn, Hazel V []
Sent: Thursday, February 22, 2001 10:07 AM
To: 'lizellis'; Histonet
Subject: RE: productivity standards

Histology is NOT factory work.   Every block is different.   Some cut
easily, others are nightmares.    I once worked in a lab  (for a VERY short
time), that had productivity standards.  (and by the way, I did meet the
standards)  We had to write what time we started cutting and/or embedding,
what time we finished and how much work we produced.    I felt like I worked
in a factory.   It also made you feel like quality didn't count, only
quantity.    I think productivity standards produce low morale.     I will
never, God willing, work under those circumstances again.     Just my 2
cents worth.

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	lizellis []
> Sent:	Wednesday, February 21, 2001 7:36 PM
> To:	Histonet
> Subject:	productivity standards
> Do any laboratories out there have any written( or unwritten )
> productivity
> expectations for their Histotech staff?
> Example;    embedding  50/60 blocks an hour or more ?
>                   cutting        20/30 blocks an hour or more ?
> Thanks in advance for the information.
> Liz Ellis

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