Friday, June 15, 2007

Wasting time

There has been a discussion in the pathology forum on DoctorsNet recently about rapid tissue processors and how useful they are. It reminded me of an occasion when I walked into the histopathology department at one of the hospitals in our region and found the corridor filled with empty wooden crates. It was a similar sort of time-saving machine. The senior biomedical scientist told me it had been bought to speed things up in the lab. This seemed a bit strange since the things that slowed down the turnaround time in this department were the volume of work compared to pathologists, the antiquated computer system and the long process of report typing, correction, retyping and authorising. Making the slides come out of the lab faster wouldn’t really help. The senior BMS thought so too. I don’t know who decided this machine would be a good idea but I bet it was expensive, and even if it was cheaper than a new lab software package, an extra consultant, an extra secretary or a good think about how to improve efficiency, it won’t improve turnaround times as much as any of these options.

Who thinks of these ideas?


At 14:15, Blogger Ming said...

Canned text(macros) is your friend. Don't you have canned text?
By the way, which anatomical pathology reporting software do you all use? We use Meditech here.

At 12:08, Anonymous Anonymous said...

blimey ming, we stil have the oompaloompas writing macros out longhand, what do you do exactly?

At 21:21, Blogger Cal said...

Obviously, a MAN!

At 04:43, Blogger rob rob the party slob said...

doesn't it always seem that lab directors think a fancy new machine will cure everything... why is that???? I'm just an mlt trained by the army and have only been in the lab a few years... mostly blood banking... I'm sure you have some insight has to why a new machine is the answer to everything

At 14:02, Blogger Ming said...

To anonymous
Our macros are all stored in a system wide database, and easily accessible and searchable by a few clicks of the mouse. We got macros for the garden variety stuff like breast cancers, colon cancers, and more esoteric ones like liver biopsy ones with their intricate Ishak scores and whatnot. Also macros for the oh so boring lipomas and uterine fibroids and epidermal cysts. You can call up the relevant macro, fill it out in the computer, save it on the system and tell the typist to print it out, or you can just print out the blank macro form, write the accession number and patient details at the top and use your highlighter to highlight the choices that are relevant.
Macros improve reporting, FACT! .

At 22:20, Blogger Cal said...

Where hast thou been?

At 21:36, Blogger The Angry Medic said...

Yeah Dr K, where is thou? I need more angry pathologists to convince me that Pathology is worth doing!

Merry Christmas and a Happy Noo Yer!

At 10:59, Blogger Dragonfly said...

The correct answer is d) bureaucrats who like toys.
Someone who runs a lab down the hall from mine invested over a thousand dollars in an automatic plate washer for ELISAs. There have been a total of 2 x 96 well plates used in that lab all year. Waste of someones money.

At 01:45, Blogger Dragonfly said...

I agree with Cal completely. The lab director I mentioned was male as well. Hmmmm. Boys and their toys.

At 15:49, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. K,

My name is Barbara O’ Brien and my blogging at The Mahablog, Crooks and Liars, AlterNet, and elsewhere on the progressive political and health blogophere has earned me the notoriety of being a panelist at the Yearly Kos Convention and a featured guest blogger at the Take Back America Conference in Washington, DC.

I’m contacting you because I found your site in a prominent health reform blog search and want to tell you about my newest blogging platform —the public concern of health care and its reform. Our shared concerns include health reform, tort reform, public health, safe workplaces, and asbestos contamination.

To increase awareness on these important issues, my goal is to get a resource link on your site or even allow me to provide a guest posting. Please contact me back, I hope to hear from you soon. Drop by our site in the meantime—


Barbara O’ Brien

At 02:49, Anonymous オテモヤン said...


At 21:41, Anonymous sewa mobil said...

Nice article, thanks for the information.

At 03:44, Anonymous Nurse and Hospital Stories said...

Yeah such a waste of time as well as of money. Not so practical too. :)Looking forward for an update, eh.

Take care,
Peny@uniform discount

At 06:42, Blogger Aaron Grey said...

Hi, Nice site I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing. Would it be possible if I contact you through your email? Please email me back. Thanks!

Aaron Grey
aarongrey112 at


Post a Comment

<< Home