Service Snippets

I’ve gotten some great responses regarding my recent blogs on Customer Service, and want to share some of these with you. Good ideas always generate more good ideas, and I think you will find these fun ideas very interesting. As we know, patients can usually only judge our quality and testing performance by what they see and what they experience at the drawing station…so, with permission to share, here are two excellent ones:

Children are often the most difficult to draw, and take more time and technique than adults. One laboratory draw station, part of a large metropolitan children’s hospital, has a system that works to help keep children occupied and parent’s angst levels lower during the busiest times. When patients show up for a phlebotomy and the wait is greater than 15 minutes, they are given a “restaurant beeper” and a coupon for the coffee/juice cart outside on the patio, and then are paged when the phlebotomist is ready for them.

A 25 bed rural hospital in West Virginia surprises a lot of people when they go out to the parking lot, and do a “vehicle draw” for patients that have difficulty making it into the hospital, for older patients who struggle with wheelchairs etc., or if someone is just too ill to come into the building. The staff is truly committed to serving their patients and proud that something so small can make such a difference. 

Perhaps these two fine examples (as well as the one from our colleagues in Africa) will generate some ideas about how your operations might make little changes that accommodate patients, and provide the best service you can offer—which we know directly translates to showing patients the quality we are proud of as laboratory professionals. Explore it with your teams, get some ideas going, and make it work for you.

I will be leaving soon for another global experience with colleagues from another part of our world and we will be working on the pre-analytical processes (including the importance of customer service) for our external AND internal customers. I’ll be writing my next blog “live from Kyrgyzstan!”

In the meantime, I’d be interested to know what you’d like me to ask our colleagues while I’m there. You can email me at  and perhaps we’ll get a little international dialogue on the topic…and as always, I look forward to hearing your comments and ideas for building better laboratories and processes around the world, and at home in our own communities!


Beverly Sumwalt, MA, DLM, CLS, MT(ASCP) is an ASCP Global Outreach Volunteer Consultant.

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