Re: [Histonet] Histotechnician productivity

From:"Barbara Bublava"

I would be very interested in this article, but I donīt have acsess to this
Could someone send it to me please?

Babara Bublava

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Rene J Buesa" 
To: "Jasper, Thomas G." ;

Sent: Thursday, November 03, 2005 1:06 PM
Subject: RE: [Histonet] Histotechnician productivity

> John:
> The is a paper dealing with this specific topic published in the
December,2004 issue of the Journal of Histotechnology.
> This paper present tha AVERAGE productivity for each task in histology;
its only drawback is that it does not include the RANGE productivity for
> Rene J.
> "Jasper, Thomas G."  wrote:
> John,
> I am quite certain that you'll get a variety of opinions on this topic. In
> approaching this "mission" I think you need to be clear about 2 things. 1)
> What is the scope of your service? and 2) Where are you going?
> You do mention a 50-60 block per day figure and basic clinical histology
> duties performed in general manually. Does this currently work well for
> you? Are your pathologists happy with the turnaround time and the quality
> of the work they receive? Are you trying to expand your business? Are your
> volumes naturally increasing and/or are they projected to increase? Do you
> want to develop technically, i.e. Immunohistochemistry, In Situ
> Hybridization? Are you looking at automating some of your current
> processes, i.e. special stains and coverslipping?
> Holy buckets! That's a lot of questions right out of the gate! But, you
> need to answer questions like these to make an accurate assessment and
> decisions. One thing I'm willing to bet is that your organization is
> looking to save money. That's very understandable in this day and age,
> however you've got to be real careful in doing it. Evaluate your service
> very carefully as this will reveal true costs and true savings. This may
> not apply to you, but for instance, take estrogen and progesterone
> receptors. I'm guessing that you probably send those tests out somewhere.
> How much does that cost? Do you have the talent in-house to take it on
> yourself? If you do and your volumes warrant it, you may save money. Money
> that's easily demonstrated up front and savings in other ways such as
> turnaround times. This in turn increases the overall value of your service
> and makes the techs more valuable as well. Again, this may not apply to
> I just created a scenario to make a point.
> This leads me to your last statement which is concerning, and that's the
> comment about losing a position or two. I firmly believe that people are
> the greatest asset of an organization. You need to hold on to positions
> with tenacity. Everyone wants to do more with less, and that's great. I
> like the modification of doing more with what you've got, especially if
> you've got good people. Even if the people aren't that good you can try to
> get others as long as you still have positions to fill. Good histotechs
> hard to find, enough said there.
> Geez, I really haven't given you any hard numbers and I guess I'm loathe
> do so considering all the unknowns and variables. I can tell you this,
> ago when I worked in a contract lab (non-clinical, sweatshop) we were
> expected to cut 200 blocks in 8 hours with no more than 15 recuts. I did
> learn to cut pretty fast there but I wouldn't recommend it. I track hours
> and production here very closely but comparisons are not going to be
> to apples. I value quality over quantity and I expect that people will do
> their best day in and day out. Techs are people and some are stronger in
> different areas than others. We average 200-250 blocks per day, with 2
> techs embedding and 3-4 techs cutting. We try to finish cutting in about 5
> to 5.5 hours. Again, this is fraught with variables. To me, if someone
> here is cutting 25 to 30 blocks an hour I think that's pretty good. Please
> excuse my rambling, but this is a tough nut to crack as the world is
> with shades of grey.
> Good luck to you.
> tj
> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> []
> Sent: Wednesday, November 02, 2005 8:34 AM
> To:
> Subject: [Histonet] Histotechnician productivity
> Hello Everyone,
> I have been assigned a "mission" by our medical director. He
> wants me to find out what would be a reasonable number of blocks per day
> for a histotech. I have tried searching the archieves for this information
> because I know it seems to be discussed quite often. However most of the
> old threads I found seemed to end up with histology professionals
> discussing that they would not work in a "factory like" atmosphere where
> they are slaves to productivity and turn around times. Which to be honest
> I agree with, histology should be a quality oriented product.
> I have also looked at the ASCP and NSH websites where this
> information is not readily accessible. I will probably e-mail them to see
> if they have any research or insight on this topic.
> The numbers that I am most familiar with, is 50 to 60 blocks per day
> per histotech, when one is including embedding, cutting, manual H&E and
> staining(gyn & non-gyn), manual coverslipping, manual special stains, and
> frozen sections. I am just not sure how accurate those numbers are for
> staffing a histology lab.
> This information is needed because we will be consolidating two
> separate small community hospital histology labs onto one campus.
> Apparently this will be used to justify the current staff of both
> locations. Unfortunately, I believe this information will ultimately be
> used to eliminate a position or two.
> Thank you for your time
> John Sheppard HT(ASCP)
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