Personnel costs comprise the largest clinical laboratory expense. Yet standards to judge the productivity of personnel have not been established. A survey of the authors' own personnel was conducted to derive productivity standards in the Clinical Hematology Laboratory at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Technologists were asked how many white blood cell differentials they could perform in an eight-hour shift. Differential productivity was tracked before and after the survey. Of the respondents, 100 per cent failed to meet their own expectations of productivity. Nine technologists were tracked both before and after the survey was mailed and manifested a significant increase in productivity. These results suggest that technologists are objective in their assessment of their own productivity, that their opinions might be a resource for establishing productivity standards within the laboratory, and that such surveys may serve as motivational tools to augment productivity.
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