Labeling Specimens

The requisition and specimen must be correctly labeled to be accepted; information on the specimen must be identical to information on the requisition.  For details see policy CH 70-040 Patient Identification and same Name Alert.

Specimens must be labeled by the collector at the time of collection in front of the patient.

For information related to anonymous (coded) and unidentified protocol patients, see policy CH 07-041 Unidentified Patient

Required Formats and Information for Labeling Laboratory Specimens contains essential information to assist with specimen labeling.

Placement of Labels

Labels are applied to facilitate opening of the specimen container and ensure the contents of the container can be viewed. Bar code labels should be applied on longitudinal axis. A pictorial description of correct vs incorrect label orientation can be viewed here (Posted with permission of London Laboratory Services Group).

Specimen Slides (e.g., PAP smear)

Two legible identifiers, one of which must be the patient’s full name, are required on the frosted end of the glass slide in pencil. For information on identifiers see Verifying Patient Identification.