Comprehensive evaluation of contemporary assisted reproduction technology laboratory operations to determine staffing levels that promote patient safety and quality care

Capsule:
As the complexity of operations has increased in the IVF laboratory, a new look at staffing requirements is needed.

Authors:
Mina Alikani, Ph.D., H.C.L.D., Kathryn J. Go, Ph.D., H.C.L.D., Caroline McCaffrey, Ph.D., H.C.L.D., David H. McCulloh, Ph.D., H.C.L.D.

Volume 102, Issue 5, Pages 1350–1356

Abstract:

Objective:
To consider how staffing requirements have changed with evolving and increasingly more complex assisted reproduction technology (ART) laboratory practice.

Design:
Analysis by four laboratory directors from three different ART programs of the level of complexity and time requirements for contemporary ART laboratory activities to determine adequate staffing levels.

Setting:
Two university-based and one private ART program.

Patient(s):
None.

Intervention(s):
None.

Main Outcome Measure(s):
Human resource requirements for ART procedures.

Result(s):
Both complexity and time required for completion of a contemporary ART cycle have increased significantly compared with the same requirements for the “traditional cycle” of the past. The latter required roughly 9 personnel hours, but a contemporary cycle can require up to 20 hours for completion. Consistent with this increase, a quantitative analysis shows that the number of embryologists required for safe and efficient operation of the ART laboratory has also increased. This number depends on not only the volume but also the types of procedures performed: the higher the number of complex procedures, the more personnel required. An interactive Personnel Calculator is introduced that can help determine staffing needs.

Conclusion(s):
The increased complexity of the contemporary ART laboratory requires a new look at the allocation of human resources. Our work provides laboratory directors with a practical, individualized tool to determine their staffing requirements with a view to increasing the safety and efficiency of operations. The work could serve as the basis for revision of the 2008 American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) staffing guidelines.

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