RE: Histo staffing standards (??)

From:"Jasper, Thomas"


Standards are great, but it's the application that is important.  12,000 (I
am assuming per year) blocks per Histotech and 1 Lab Assistant per 4
Histotechs is fine as a "standard" for what?  Who's standard?  As this
listserver is evidence of the histology world is filled with diversity.
Standard is one of those words like, "regular", "average" and "normal".  To
really understand what is standard for you, you must break down your
service.  What is the mission of your service?  Who are your customers?
What is the scope of your service, the breadth and the depth?  These are
just some of the questions that you need to answer before you can determine
realistically what is standard ...for you.
Variables need to be assessed before any "standard" can be determined.
Certainly there are minimums, education as your job descriptions may lay
out, and other things that are not subject to great variability (lunch
between 11 and 1?).  However you are not the ABC Widget Company, producing
the standard widget.  
Now on to consultants.  Here are 2 of the best lines I've ever heard about
consultants: 1) "A consultant is the guy who takes your wristwatch so he can
tell you what time it is." and 2) "Consultants - If you can't be part of the
solution there is good money to be made prolonging the problem."  The best
thing you can do is take consultants with a grain of salt and if the upper
management is wise they will also.  Certainly there are times when
consultants can be useful.  Particularly if they bring up issues that may
have been previously addressed and have gotten dead-ended, i.e., better
computer systems, equipment, transport issues or other sensible streamlining
methods.  You must remember though that when dealing with consultants you
are the histology expert and you "know your flow" best.  If they can
validate good things for you great.  But, they must not be allowed to run
roughshod over your service making wholesale changes in a slash-and-burn
effort to save a buck.  Most often consultant's fees are based directly on
what they claim they can save an organization.  Their motivation lies
somewhere between, what can we do to save this organization $ and how much $
can we make off this organization by drastically altering the operation.
Years ago I was told that a "standard" for histology labs was a 1.5
Histotech to Pathologist ratio.  In almost 20 years of histology work I have
never had that luxury (kinda hard to get that .5 Histotech I guess) and
who's standard it was or why are still a mystery to me.  This seems to be
more than my 2 cents worth, I hope there is something of value here for you.
I wish you the best of luck.

Thomas Jasper HT(ASCP) BAS
Anatomic Pathology Coordinator 
SMDC Clinical Laboratory
Duluth, MN

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Rushing, Roxane []
> Sent:	Friday, June 27, 2003 11:30 AM
> To:	''
> Subject:	Histo staffing standards (??)
> Histonetters:
> I'm curious to know what your FTE status is and how many blocks your
> organizations cut per year.
> Recently, a "consultant" told our Admin. that the "staffing standard" is
> 12,000 blocks per Histo Tech FTE along with 1 lab assistant for every 4
> Histo Techs.
> (we are a Private Lab, not a university setting). What do you all think?
> Thanks, Roxane Rushing
> Pathology Group of La.

<< Previous Message | Next Message >>