A New York Times article cites studies of how much time we waste on the job. Microsoft: 16 out of 45 hours in a work week. America Online and Salary: two out of three days a week. Steve Pavlina, a self-proclaimed work expert: we work only one and a half hours a day. Paradoxically, we spend more time at work: the average professional work week has steadily increased during the last decade, including business calls and emails while driving or with the family, to a whopping 70 executive hours.
Clearly, we wouldn’t waste so much time if we weren’t working so hard. Since it all amounts to captive time -- often in a Pavlovian sense -- most of us consider loafing to be real work in that it prepares us for the adrenaline rush that justifies our existence. Working through breaks and lunch create fish stories that make us crave more of the same, too, if only for the peer recognition.
Still, I doubt many of us enjoy needless work. With that in mind, here are five (hopefully not crazy) ideas:
- Crossmatch to transfuse. A doctor ordering a crossmatch should be asked, “Are you going to transfuse?” Even better, trade “Crossmatch” for “Transfuse” orders in your system.
- QC only measured CBC parameters. If percentages and indices are calculated, why track and troubleshoot them? We don’t QC BUN-creatinine ratios.
- Train all shifts to run microbiology. Especially with automated systems, there isn’t any reason routine cultures can’t be worked up as soon as there is optimal plate growth.
- Assign work by modality, not specialty. If modern analyzers are run by loading samples, why not assign someone that task for multiple workstations? Especially in small labs, this might save time.
- Rethink STAT. Discrete technology should make STAT obsolete. Bread and butter tests such as chemistry panels and blood counts can be run as received and STAT all but ignored.
Please add your own. I’ll review them when I come back from break. I hear there are pumpkin chocolate chip muffins in the cafeteria today.