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Stepwise Success

Distractions Cause Errors
October 20, 2014 6:01 AM by Scott Warner
A study at Michigan State University found that three second interruptions doubled error rates; longer distractions increased errors. Another study in Australia found that nurse medication errors increased twelve percent for every interruption. And a Read More...
Hold This For Five Minutes
September 17, 2014 6:03 AM by Scott Warner
I hate tape. I don’t really mind having blood drawn, but tape is a pain. Yanking or coaxing it off, it doesn’t matter. Getting hair ripped off my arms always hurts more than a needle. So when the phlebotomist or medical assistant says, “Hold this for Read More...
Do You Microsleep?
September 3, 2014 6:06 AM by Scott Warner
I keep forgetting about the cool site Stumbleupon, which will find web sites based on your interests. Then I’ll get an email, say “Aha!” and stumble away. I’ve found a few good ideas this way. For example, the other day I read an article on microsleep. Read More...
Keyboard Ergonomics
July 9, 2014 11:46 AM by Scott Warner
What started out attached to a desktop personal computer is everywhere. Keyboards are attached to computer terminals, COWs (Computers on Wheels), and many instruments. Yet little has changed in their design (more about that below). They are big, bulky, Read More...
A Better Blood Bank History
June 2, 2014 6:09 AM by Scott Warner
Blood bank is a dangerous department. Giving a patient the wrong unit of red cells can be fatal, something all techs who work in blood bank worry about. I’ve seen this happen once in my career. Truth is we don’t know how often this really happens, since Read More...
Does Tech Support Believe You?
March 19, 2014 6:04 AM by Scott Warner
More times than I can count I’ve discovered a problem with an instrument because of an unexpected shift or trend in quality control, called tech support, and been told there isn’t a problem. Recently a hematology field service tech told our techs that Read More...
Eat Breakfast, Work Smarter
February 5, 2014 6:13 AM by Scott Warner
We employed a temp doctor who loved terrible breakfasts. During rounds we would stop by the dictation room to update her on cultures and other issues, and she listened while inhaling a fast food breakfast sausage muffin egg and cheese thing wrapped in Read More...
All The Other Labs Do It
January 31, 2014 6:07 AM by Scott Warner
We report an estimated GFR using the MDRD (Modification of Diet in Renal Disease) equation. Sometime last year we stopped reporting the value in patients over seventy, because it hasn’t been validated for that subset of patients. It can still be useful, Read More...
Questioning Physicians
September 4, 2013 6:02 AM by Scott Warner
The other day a physician ordered a platelet count to be recollected and repeated off lavender and blue top tubes. The patient platelet count had dropped from 229 thousand to 102 thousand in 24 hours, a sudden change. The tech performed the work but grumbled Read More...
Human Error Did it!
July 29, 2013 6:01 AM by Scott Warner
Human error is blamed for much, from misidentification to mislabeling to misreporting criticals. One time a biochemical strip was miscoded because of (I thought) a flaw in the worksheet design, and the tech said, “It’s just human error.” “Human error” Read More...
ABO Compatibility Safeguards
July 5, 2013 6:11 AM by Scott Warner
The incidence of ABO-related transfusion complications is rare but significant. One study estimates 800-900 cases annually in the US, with most causes being identification or phlebotomist error. Considering that undetected errors can occur depending on Read More...
Are You Less Safe?
June 17, 2013 6:08 AM by Scott Warner
According to NIOSH (the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health), healthcare workers are exposed to violence at a rate of 8.3 nonfatal assaults per 10,000 workers annually. Studies show that violence may occur when service is denied, a patient Read More...
Recharge and Renew
May 20, 2013 6:19 AM by Scott Warner
According to one Fox affiliate contributor, Ben and Jerry’s has a special nap room for employees. If you get too tuckered making Chunkey Monkey, you can bag a few zees. The National Sleep Foundation reports that sixteen percent of employers have similar Read More...
Move Smarter
May 15, 2013 5:59 AM by Scott Warner
Repetitive motion injuries are commonly caused by cumulative trauma to musculoskeletal joints such as thumbs, elbows, and shoulders. These have always been common in workplaces but there is greater awareness during these long days of people sitting at Read More...
Ergonomics and Exhaustion
May 10, 2013 6:25 AM by Scott Warner
When we renovated our lab design, moving walls, equipment, and refrigerators, one of the techs joked the newly opened space made it “walker ready.” “We aren’t getting any younger,” she said. That seems to be a theme these days. I’m not sure we’ll be working Read More...


About this Blog

    Scott Warner, MLT(ASCP)
    Occupation: Laboratory Manager
    Setting: Critical Access Hospital
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