There has been a discussion in the pathology forum on DoctorsNet recently about rapid tissue processors and how useful they are. It reminded me of an occasion when I walked into the histopathology department at one of the hospitals in our region and found the corridor filled with empty wooden crates. It was a similar sort of time-saving machine. The senior biomedical scientist told me it had been bought to speed things up in the lab. This seemed a bit strange since the things that slowed down the turnaround time in this department were the volume of work compared to pathologists, the antiquated computer system and the long process of report typing, correction, retyping and authorising. Making the slides come out of the lab faster wouldn’t really help. The senior BMS thought so too. I don’t know who decided this machine would be a good idea but I bet it was expensive, and even if it was cheaper than a new lab software package, an extra consultant, an extra secretary or a good think about how to improve efficiency, it won’t improve turnaround times as much as any of these options.
Who thinks of these ideas?