The procedure for collecting blood can vary significantly from hospital to hospital. Sometimes the difference is due to the established routines in the particular Hospital, meaning that work is carried out in a “the way it has always been done” fashion. However, most of the time the procedures differ due to the technology and equipment available to the hospital.
Some hospitals are relying on nurses for the drawing of blood. If the hospital has no equipment or system installed to manage the collecting of samples, more often than not the nurses either leave the samples in a specific area, where the samples stay until a designated porter/piccolo arrives – perhaps at a specific time during the day – to collect it and deliver it to the lab. Upon arriving in the lab, the lab-personnel will register the samples individually in the Hospital data/it system, and one by one bring the samples to the analytical equipment for the analysis process.
In other hospitals, it is the Phlebotomists drawing the blood, collecting the blood samples on a tray as they go along. In some places, there are designated sample-drop areas where the samples are kept until at porter comes to collect them. Alternatively, the individual samples are brought back to the lab with the phlebotomist. This means that the samples stay on the phlebotomist tray/roller throughout the drawing/collecting rounds. Some of these rounds last up to over an hour resulting in (not only) a long waiting time before arriving in the lab, but also bulk delivery in the lab, straining the registration and handling process of the sample, causing further waiting before the analyses can be conducted.
Both of these examples lead to a slow turnaround time in the lab. The effects of which are longer waiting time for the doctor and diagnosis and hence patient waiting time potentially leading to unnecessary occupied bed days
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There are also hospitals equipped with PTS and rail systems. After the blood is drawn the nurses or phlebotomists are required to pack the samples in a secure way before packing them into containers/carriers and send it through the tube or rail system to the lab, where the samples are to be unpacked and registered before they are placed unto or into the analytical equipment. Again this is a solution that – even though faster than porters – results in both bulk delivery in the lab, straining equipment capacity and potential bottlenecks, and a slower ToTAT due to more manual handling.
In hospitals using the Tempus600 system, the collection routine could be like this: the nurses and phlebotomists would register the blood tube on a PDA system when a blood sample is taken. Then they send the sample from the ward to the lab for example after every 2-5 patients/or room. Samples are inserted in the Tempus600 after which the nurse/phlebotomist returns to the next room to collect more samples.
A sample travels through the Point-to-Point installation into the lab, where it can be integrated with a bulk loader or sorter solution that lifts the sample onto the automated track for analysis. In both this example and the case of a non-automated lab the samples arrive without the need for packing or unpacking. The Tempus600 system transporting the samples individually ensures not only a LEAN process but it also offers the hospital a “one-touch-handling" solution that reduces the risks associated with human handling. It also provides the opportunity of FIFO, resulting in a great ToTAT, better usage of capacity through an even flow of samples, and no bottlenecks. Moreover, this results in a better cost-benefit, earlier treatment, and potentially fewer unnecessary occupied beds.