Guide To Specimen Collection And Processing Procedures

Guide To Specimen Collection And Processing Procedures

With the global pandemic Covid-19 taking over the world by storm this year, specimen collection and lab testing practices have grown significantly. The use of equipment like nasopharyngeal swabs and oropharyngeal swabs and other similar tools to collect samples and specimens of people has grown largely.

Specimen collection should be done with utmost care. Properly handling and collecting specimens leads to valid and on-time lab test results. Specimens collected should be placed in the right tubes and containers. These containers then should be labeled for easy identification and then immediately sent to the laboratory.

How To Get Accurate Lab Test Results

The accuracy of lab test results greatly depends upon the physicians and other technicians who are in charge of collecting and sending the specimen to the laboratory. We have listed some useful tips for your patients:

1. Make Sure There Are No Patient Identification Errors

It’s better to have more than one patient identifier when dealing with blood samples and medications. Also, you should label the containers and sample holders for blood in front of the patient. Always check the patient before collecting their sample. The right identifiers will have the patient’s details like their full name, date of birth, and other medical records.

2. Take Out All The Tubes In Proper Order

Mostly, multiple tubes are drawn from a place using some sort of tube system. In such cases, you need to take care of the proper sequence to collect blood in order to avoid cross-contamination of lab equipment. This contamination can corrupt the test results. This is the correct order for most blood collection tubes:
⮚ The Blood culture tube
⮚ Coagulation blood tube
⮚ Serum tube
⮚ The plasma separating tube
⮚ EDTA tubes used for hematology
⮚ Fluoride and oxalate tubes
⮚ Other tubes

3. Use The Right Containers To Collect

There are some analyses and experiments that can only be carried out with containers that come with preservatives, while some don’t. If you use the wrong container, you’ll definitely get the wrong results. To avoid such happening, check the test catalog and instruction manuals to see the requirements.


4. Mix The Tubes

It’s advisable to mix all the tubes ten or more times by gentle transposition right after the sample collection.


5. Don’t Mix Specimens

Mixing different specimens will cause a huge disaster. Do not pour out specimens of one type into a container that includes another specimen. These specimens should immediately be sent to the laboratory in the container that was used initially.


6. Make Sure The Specimens Reach Laboratory Quickly

The components present in the serum or plasma are to be measured and they should be separated immediately from the blood cells. If they are left unseparated for long, the analytes in serum or plasma will shift within the cells causing the glucose to be finished. Also, some components present in the plasma are not stable at room temperature. The usual practice of taking out lots of blood from patients to keep it as a backup for some emergency is wrong and should be avoided. This gives erroneous results.



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