Are there any benefits of FIFO - First in, First out - for blood samples compared to bundling? Is it really faster to send the samples one by one than to bundle and transport 20 samples at a time?
Yes is the answer to both questions! FIFO is both more beneficial and faster.
When you bundle you are also waiting, and when you are waiting, the machines conducting the analysis also waits. If you then add one or more stations in between the first bundling and the end process machine that has to handle the bundled samples, it will really slow down the process significantly.
The blood sample transport can be compared to a normal transportation situation like a bus. If a bus is arriving every 15 minutes and 15 people are arriving every minute up to departure, the total waiting time will be 120 minutes.
If they all work at the same office, this office has just lost 120 minutes of work = 2 hours. If they all have been on a bus departure every 1-minute - FIFO - the waiting time has been maximum 15 minutes, and the office has only lost 15 minutes and saved 105 minutes.
Furthermore, the office would have had 15 people arriving at the same time, which is creating a big load all at once, and that normally slows down the process. If people arrived every one minute, the load would be very even.
If you do the same math for blood samples in a hospital e.g. 5000 samples a day from e.g. 20 different wards, the saving of waiting time will be tremendous and the load at the analyzing machine will be significantly low compared to bundling.
So if queuing can be avoided by removing bundling and introducing “First in, First out”, hospitals can benefit from the efficiency in analyzing machines and reduce the processing time of blood samples. This leads to faster and better treatment of the patients which again leads to savings in bed time!
FIFO is the best way to reduce the ToTAT (Total-Turn-Around-Time) of the blood samples process and ensures better treatment.