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“The assessment of operator workload has a vital impact on design of a laboratory”


following factors must to be considered within the workload modelling equation: patient catchment/patient volume including referrals which influence demand patterns, evidenced at the laboratory by sample and episode, laboratory size and level of automation which influences throughput (quantity), the disciplines and service types offered including episode types and performance requirements (quality) which influence capability, the shifts and work schedules which influences availability and task distribution and the infrastructure and logistics which influences laboratory capacity. The model must determine the:


optimised resource compliment for the laboratory, sample and episode capacity, forecast planning to support strategic and business planning and budgeting, workload requirement (labour requirement per shift and shift work schedules) and the impact of operational variances such as unforeseen breakdowns and absences. It should be able to facilitate or highlight: productivity comparisons between laboratories and regions, staff shortages and equipment over or under utilization, production planning opportunities - reallocation of resources and instruments, possible bottlenecks and overload within the laboratory processes, blend of occupational groups required for the laboratory load and accommodate differences for tertiary, secondary and primary level


laboratory types. The


requisite inputs to the model would be: work-time profile per role type reflecting experience, competence, capability and productivity scales, benchmark data for time norms and process controls, legislative, safety and regulatory precepts, service level agreements and a triage approach to distributing specimens. Demand dynamics dictate resource


requirements while organisation operational structures influence delivery capability. Ideally, laboratories managed regionally should utilise the same laboratory information systems which in turn influence operational approaches in a standardised way. The mix of staff across operational


32 www.lifesciencesmagazines.com INSTRUMENTS


INFRASTRUCTURE & FACILITIES


MEDICAL


FIGURE 1: THE WORKLOAD MODEL


RESCOURCE PLANNING


PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT


RECRUITMENT


WORKLOAD MODELLING


OPERATIONAL SCHEDULING


DEPLOYMENT


DEVELOPMENT


FIGURE 2: CRITICAL FACTORS TO CONSIDER


OCCUPATIONAL CATEGORIES & LEVELS


DURATION


TYPES


LAB


TYPES


TEST


PROCESSES


IT & SYSTEM SUPPORT


VOLUMES


WORKLOAD


categories and how they are deployed and utilised differs from laboratory to laboratory as does the capability of the laboratory manager. Larger laboratories may have decentralised and more specialised functions while smaller laboratories have consolidated functions requiring activities and skills that cross disciplines. Changes in demand resulting from seasonal or geographic demographics, system changes,


diagnostic services workload increases and priority programmes impact staffing and original planning assumptions may no longer be valid. Finally, workload modelling will bring


into harmony actively, the quantification of human effort with the potential throughput of analytical equipment in ways that would allow meticulous adjustment of productivity in response to any identified service demand. ■


ML


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