Specimen Collection

To obtain accurate and correct test results, it is essential that the phlebotomist, or medical staff person taking the sample knows the type of specimen needed, and how to correctly store the specimen. Each test may have it’s own requirements for collecting the specimen. The medical staff person will review the test requirements with you prior to collecting the specimen to ensure you understand what will be required.

Specimen Collection Errors to Avoid

Insufficient Quantity

A specimen must contain the stated minimum for a particular test. Stated minimums are absolutely necessary for processing. If we do not have enough specimen required, we will not be able to complete the lab test. We should draw at least 2.5 times the volume of serum or plasma required for a particular test. For example, if 5 ml of serum are required for a test, a specimen of at least 15 ml of whole blood should be drawn.

Insufficient Quality

If a specimen is not collected correctly, we may not be able to complete the required test.
Patient must follow the ALL requirements for any given test, this include avoid food, alcohol, fasting, and so forth where applicable.

Incorrect Storing

If a specimen requires freezing, never fill the tube too high.
Improper specimen collection or handling can cause hemolysis.
Specimens must always be collected in the correct container.
Avoid using loose container lids, this will lead to leakage and/or specimen contamination.

Mislabeled Specimen

Always labeling the specimen correctly, and ensure to include provide all pertinent information.
Always include patient info on the specimen container.