Laboratory directors are tasked with staffing laboratories in a manner that provides adequate services and maintains economic sustainability.


To determine the national normative rates of phlebotomy staffing and the types of laboratory operational characteristics that may be associated with the magnitude of those staffing levels.


Study participants provided data on inpatient and outpatient phlebotomy sites, including the numbers of patients receiving phlebotomy services, phlebotomy staff, and billable tests. From these data, we calculated performance indicators including the numbers of phlebotomies/phlebotomy full-time equivalent staff, outpatient phlebotomy visits/full-time equivalent staff, and average outpatient phlebotomy wait times. Participants also completed a survey of their laboratory phlebotomy practices.


This study was conducted during the third quarter of 2017. Forty-two institutions participated in this study, providing eligible results for 40 selected inpatient sites and 70 selected outpatient sites. The ratios for all performance indicators spanned between 3.3- and 142-fold. The median average outpatient phlebotomy wait time was 8 minutes. None of the performance indicators were associated with the practice variables that we chose to test.


The distribution of phlebotomy staffing performance indicators among the laboratories participating in this study varied widely, even among those groups performing similar volumes of tests.

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Author notes

The authors have no relevant financial interest in the products or companies described in this article.