​​​​​Image of Infographic mapping out the Blood Lab Collection Centre
Infographic mapping out the Blood Lab Collection Centre and highlighting recent changes. (Design: UHN Photographics)

Joice Guspie, a patient and staff member at University Health Network, makes regular visits to the Laboratory Medicine Program's (LMP) Blood Lab Collection Centre (BLCC), where blood is collected and sent for analysis.

"I usually arrive with a newspaper and a book in my bag, ready for a long wait. It's a very busy place," Joice says.

Recently the BLCC in the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre underwent significant renovations and increased staff, providing improved patient wait times, capacity, and care – for Joice and thousands of others.

Transforming the patient experience in the blood lab

Before the renovations the BLCC was often overcrowded and patients and families experienced long waits. To counter this, a Transformation Steering Committee was established to positively impact experience for patients, staff, clinicians and family members. The project provides support by ensuring:

  • A patient focused experience that provides timely and seamless care
  • Highest standards in quality and patient safety
  • Actively communicating with patients, caregivers, staff and clinicians

The BLCC underwent a variety of changes based on the findings of the Steering Committee. Changes include:

  • New blood collection stations to serve patients more quickly
  • Improved technology for faster reporting of blood tests
  • Increased staffing during peak hours
  • Renovations to the waiting room to provide more seating

"These changes were long awaited," says Maria Amenta, LMP site Lead and Manager of the BLCC. "I was eager to get in there and establish a more effective system, and now that it's in place, I'm very excited to offer improved service and experience for our Princess Margaret patients."

Maria along with the entire BLCC Transformation Steering Committee, led by co-chairs Tom Clancy, Director of Laboratory Operations, LMP, and Terri Stuart-McEwan​, Executive Director, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, worked to make these changes to improve patient experience and increase the number of patients served.

Improving service with new blood collection stations

The results of these changes are substantial. There are now 13 blood collection stations (up from 10), a new electrocardiogram (ECG) room able to serve as a blood station as needed, and an increase from four to 10 technicians serving patients during peak morning hours. 

"By improving our wait times, patients and their families will have an excellent experience during a difficult period of their lives," says Patsy Raymond, one of LMP's Blood Collection Technicians working at the Princess Margaret. "Improving wait times will also improve staff morale in a very demanding environment."

Meeting the goal

The goal for client service is to serve 90 per cent of patients in 25 minutes or less. Earlier this year average weekly turnaround for patients seen under 25 minutes was 29 per cent, and as of April 1, 2015, the BLCC is serving a weekly average of 80- per cent of patients in 25 minutes or less.

"I didn't even recognize the place," says Joice, "it was almost empty."

"I was in and out within 20 minutes – I didn't really need the book and newspaper!" 

 "It's a great step forward," says Maria. "We've seen an immediate impact in the number of patients we can serve, and the timeliness in which we can serve them. Now it's time to look for new opportunities to achieve and sustain our goal."

Connect with the BLCC Transformation Steering Committee

The BLCC Transformation Steering Committee welcomes feedback and suggestions at: BLCCshare@uhn.ca.​​

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