Team-Tested Practices
 Gilroy Senior Lab Assistant Valerie Obata SEIU.

Shifting schedules and cross-training can help labs work more quickly. Pictured is Gilroy Senior Lab Assistant Valerie Obata, a member of SEIU-UHW.


Creative Thinking Makes a Faster Lab

Patients expect to wait at the lab, but when flipping through magazines stretches to an hour, they might as well pack a lunch. The Gilroy Medical Offices lab had this problem, so they shifted schedules and opened a half-hour earlier. They staggered lunch schedules, worked with physicians to make orders clear, and trained all staffers to register patients, process specimen and draw blood. In a month, wait times dropped to 24 minutes and then to 8-15 minutes. Member satisfaction scores jumped 10 points, and 20 monthly complaints became 150 compliments.

Here's What Worked

  • Opening the lab a half-hour earlier to prevent long lines at the open of business
  • Shifting work schedules and staggering lunch hours to have more staff covering available time
  • Cross-training staff to register patients, process specimens and draw blood

 What can your team do to improve its workflow? 


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