Re: Workload management

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From:Mick Rentsch <> (by way of histonet)
To:histonet <>
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Dear Mark,
some 15 yrs ago, and maybe still used by some Institutions today, was the
Canadian Workload Recording system for Pathology Services. It was used as a
Management tool for lab. managers/ personel staff etc.and carried a "unit"
time measurement for procedures and procedure groups for all disiplines
incl. clerical. Basically these times multiplied for the procedures for a
given month and divided by the actual staff time was expressed as a
This system was modified for Labs in Victoria Australia by the health Dept.
and the RCPA and it was claimed that Histolabs should operate between 80-90%
which allowed time for keeping up to date, meeting continuing education
etc.; however many labs. esp. either in country locations or Private Labs
frequently had figures between 110 & 130%, where it was felt that such high
figures would cause high staff turnover, illness etc and was grounds for
getting more staff.
The system became an embarrisment for the health dept. because it
highlighted a few institutions that were grossly inefficient and
overstaffed, but were unable to do anything about it - so that those that
were overworked- remained overworked. The system was dropped  mainly because
of union pressure from a minority.
While the system was no longer "Official" some Lab Managers like myself
continued to use it for another 8-10yrs, as it provided an accurate means of
workload comparison for previous years, changing trends in blocks/case,
types of special stains etc. and later when takeovers began an accurate
means of forcasting requirements because the labs we took over had used the
same recording systems in our region and we could compare apples to apples.
Now the takeovers are complete, we still recorded stats, but these were
greatly simplified for Management and were based solely on charge nos. and
have since lost their significance as a tool for comparison or prediction.
An example of time units is as follows. (May need to be self determined- but
once determined, must not be altered otherwise you loose your basis for
Clerical/case:- 15 mins (Includes accessioning and report etc.)
Block:- 10 mins (includes all cut-up, processing, embedding and one stained
H&E) (Includes filing & maintainence etc.)
Extra H&E:- 6 min. (Includes filing & maianainence etc.)
Extra unstained section
Group 1 Special Stain:-10 mins
Group.2 Special Stain:- 12
Group3 special stain :-15mins
Group 4 Special stain:- 20mins (Originally incl Peroxidase but when workload
and expertise increased was dropped to a Group 2.
Autopsy (Asssistance incl. sewing up and cleaning , sterilisation
maintainence etc.) 200mins.
You will be able to design your own Mark, firstly list all procedures , then
decide if any can be clustered. Assign minute vales. Draw up workload
recording sheet . Arrange with the pay office to supply you with the total
hours and minutes worked for the dept. for clerical and technical
staff.(Pathologist are not included). Run system for three months to
establish a base line and determine a value (% is as good as any) and rate
the period as being slow / average/ or just plain flat tacker; then set %
limits to reflect underworked/ overworked . If because of new technology the
% limits change then consider assigning a new minute value for the procedure
like we did for Immunoperoxidase.
See if any of your Canadian cousins still have anything you can adapt.
Regards Mike Rentsch (Downunder)
-----Original Message-----
From: A. Mark Briones <>
To: HistoNet Server <>
Date: Wednesday, 14 October 1998 4:54
Subject: Workload management

>Overworked Histonetters --
>Has anyone developed a histology duties spreadsheet that can be used to
>evaluate the need for additional staff (FTE) in a hospital based Histology
>Lab?  Last week, I attended an ASCP teleconference on a Model for
>Cytopathology Staffing Needs.   I would like to work on a model for our
>histology staffing needs.  I am working on a spreadsheet but fear it may be
>either too complex or too simplified.  We have two HTs to cover 5  (7.5 hr/
>day) days a week, rotation on weekends (4-8 hours), and cover each other
>sickness, required and unscheduled time off ?,  vacation ?, etc.
>ed. and team meetings are a thing of the past.  I need a solid, flag waving
>justification for a part-time HT ready for presentation in the next few
>weeks.  Help!
>Mark Briones
>Valley Children's Hospital
>Madera CA  USA

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