The Importance of Streamlining Phlebotomist Workflows
By The Altus Team
Published Jul 18, 2022
| Updated Nov 16, 2022
| 5 min read
Phlebotomy labs report lifesaving or life-altering results. They run blood draw tests and provide medical providers with the results in an efficient manner. Doctors then relay the information to their patients and use the blood draw results to create and carry out tailored treatment plans based on the results.
It’s essential for the phlebotomy process to be done right not only for the well-being of the patients but also for the quality of treatment options the medical facility can offer. In order to do their job well, phlebotomists must have the proper equipment, including a mobile phlebotomy cart to house all of their equipment.
This article explores the importance of streamlining phlebotomist workflows and the steps you can take to ensure your team is equipped to succeed.
Daily demand for phlebotomists
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for phlebotomists is projected to increase at an astonishing rate: 22% from 2020 to 2030. That’s well above the average for any other occupation, even in the healthcare field.
While the demand for phlebotomists is high, so are the demands on phlebotomists. It’s common for these individuals to be expected to draw blood from ten patients per hour.
The workload phlebotomists experience is constant, and there’s no room for error. To ensure the phlebotomists are able to do their jobs to the degree needed, hospitals and labs must provide the equipment required to draw blood quickly and accurately in various settings. This includes diagnostic labs, blood donor centers, and other healthcare facilities. And within those settings, phlebotomist workstations must be mobile.
For example, many hospitalized patients have their blood drawn regularly. These individuals don’t travel to the lab to have this done; phlebotomists bring their equipment to the patient. Phlebotomists must have the mobility offered by workstations on wheels so they can travel from patient to patient, taking samples as they go.
Phlebotomists work in fast-paced environments where scheduled draws are the norm. And at a rate of one patient every five minutes, a phlebotomist’s efficiency is crucial, as is their accuracy, as we’ll explore below.
The value of blood sample accuracy
Blood sample accuracy is one of the most important pieces within a hospital. The information within these vials alerts providers to a patient’s medical condition and directs the care plan. Once blood samples have been collected by the phlebotomist, staff run the requested tests and examine the results. At this point, if any results come back as abnormal, the phlebotomist needs to double-check the accuracy of the initial blood draw.
When abnormal results occur, the patient must undergo additional testing and procedures to determine the cause of the abnormal test result. These additional tests cause added emotion and often financial stress for the patient, and cost the hospital funds. In the event that these additional tests show the was, in fact, an error with the initial blood draw, it can have lasting effects on the hospital. If your hospital had a blood draw error that caused issues for the patient, At a minimum, patient satisfaction plummets, and you’ve lost patient trust.
The accuracy of blood sampling from phlebotomists is tied directly to a hospital’s reputation. The more accurate the sampling is, the fewer resources will need to be used, patient experience raises, and patient confidence in your facility increases. All of these can be achieved by providing resources and tools that streamline phlebotomist workflows.
Phlebotomists' roles in medical lab processes
Phlebotomy requires special knowledge and equipment to collect patient samples safely and accurately within medical lab processes. The importance of this role cannot be overstated.
The workflow of any medical laboratory involves these basic steps:
Physician orders lab tests.
Lab receives the order.
Lab generates work lists and labels.
Phlebotomist dispatches to patient.
When the phlebotomist is sent to collect, they need a workstation that keeps their equipment organized and secure to reduce errors. In one study it was found that as many as 3.5 errors are made per blood draw. With 73% of the errors that occur during the blood testing process being preventable, having an optimal workspace is dire.
Proper workstations and workspaces can drastically reduce these numbers. By providing your collections team with mobile workstations designed with phlebotomists in mind, you equip them to stay organized, follow protocols, and secure accurate collections every time. Sample collection errors increase operational costs. By implementing workstations that reduce these errors, you effectively reduce the time and money spent on correcting those errors.
Altus’s mobile carts provide ample workspace to keep phlebotomists from placing their kits on potentially contaminated surfaces like tables, chairs, or hospital beds. Plenty of storage ensures users have access to the myriad equipment and tools they need to complete their draws without leaving the room, streamlining their processes and reducing mistakes within the medical lab process.
Mobile medical carts and phlebotomist workflows
Phlebotomists work in various settings and sometimes under immense pressure, especially when draws are difficult, or the patient is upset. Agility and accuracy are paramount for phlebotomists to carry out their duties at minimal operational costs while improving the patient experience.
Providing dedicated phlebotomy workstations is the primary way facilities can empower their phlebotomists to do their jobs correctly and effectively.
A phlebotomist needs access to a variety of equipment to complete their draws. Carrying this equipment by hand increases the risk of mistakes, dropping or losing the equipment or samples. But when they have a dedicated mobile workstation, they can quickly and safely transport supplies and samples, keeping all items organized and secure.
Mobile phlebotomy workstations carry supplies from room to room and across floors, reducing time wasted unpacking and repacking equipment for every draw. Phlebotomists can simply roll their carts across your facility, virtually eliminating physical strain once required to haul supplies by hand.
Altus’s carts are designed for facility-wide mobility. Dual casters improve mobility over thresholds, reducing the energy and strain required to transport equipment across the hospital or medical facility. Our heavy-duty casters are added to every phlebotomy cart to add an additional layer of durability and agility. They make moving through a hospital with different floors easy, so the phlebotomist can focus on their tasks rather than if their blood draw cart can keep up with them. The locking mechanism ensures that the cart stays put when the user collects samples.
A large work surface decreases the likelihood of accidental drops or contamination due to the user balancing multiple vials in their hands. When your phlebotomists have an adequate workspace designed to meet their needs –– and the demands of the job –– they are more likely to work efficiently, collect accurate samples, and contribute to better patient outcomes.
The importance of accurate phlebotomy
Phlebotomists are invaluable members of your healthcare team. By enabling them to improve collection accuracy and efficiency, you reduce operational costs while improving the patient experience.
Altus carries a complete line of mobile workstations designed for your phlebotomy team. Contact us today for a demo of our phlebotomy cart, and to learn more about how our carts can improve phlebotomist workflows and prove your hospital with the solutions needed to keep patient experience high.