Labeling Specimens

Specimen Labeling Guidelines

Improving the accuracy of patient identification is one of the National Patient Safety Goals as implemented by The Joint Commission (TJC) and the College of American Pathologists (CAP). This goal requires two identifiers on each patient specimen. Please note:

  1. Specimens not labeled according to the requirements below will not be accepted for testing by our laboratory. 
  2. A client service representative will notify your office concerning any specimen labeling issues.
  3. Irretrievable specimen labeling issues will be referred to a pathologist for consultation with the ordering provider.

 

Before collection, verify each item of the patient's identity. Avoid distractions and interruptions. Concentrate solely on the labeling and handling process. Label all specimens immediately after collection. Complete all paperwork at the time the specimen is obtained from the patient. Print legibly and always label with indelible ink. 

Thank you for your assistance in preventing patient care errors due to specimen mislabeling.

Blood Bank Specimen Labeling Requirements

All specimen labels must include the following: 

  • Patient Full Legal Name (First and Last)
  • Patient Date of Birth (DOB)
  • Date and Time of Collection
  • Initials of Person Collecting the Specimen
  • Social Security Number (if available)

 

See Blood Bank Specimen Collection Guidelines for more information.

Specimen Labeling Requirements

Always label samples at the time of collection in the presence of the patient.

Use a minimum of two patient identifiers on every sample submitted for testing.

Required patient identifiers include Patient Full Legal Name (First and Last) AND at least one additional identifier:

  • Patient Date of Birth (DOB) or
  • Social Security Number or
  • Numbered Requisition Label

 

Specimens submitted on slides must have patient full legal name (first and last) and one additional identifier on each slide. The container holding the slides should also have two acceptable patient identifiers. 

For your convenience, Legacy requisitions have adhesive labels printed with a unique identifying number. Please print the patient's full legal name on this label and attach to the speciemn. Last name and first initial are not acceptable.