Posted on 30 Apr 2014
The incidence of patient identification errors, including mislabeled and misidentified specimens, is thought to be unacceptably high in clinical laboratories.
The best data on errors in USA laboratories is derived from three separate College of American Pathologists (CAP; Northfield, IL, USA) Q-Probe studies, in which the reported rates of mislabeled specimens were 0.39/1,000 in 120 institutions in 2006, 0.92/1,000 in 147 clinical laboratories in 2008, and 1.12% of blood bank specimens in 122 clinical laboratories.
Laboratory scientists at the ARUP Laboratories (Salt Lake City, UT, USA) have examined the problem of misidentification and have suggested some possible solutions. One approach is the single piece flow and this concept has significant error-proofing potential for labeling tasks at relatively low cost. They suggest that to prevent errors during collection and processing, avoid having specimens from multiple patients in the active work area at the same time. Similarly, avoid using strips of labels from a label printer with labels for multiple patients that must be matched to specimens and if using an automated aliquoting device, be sure that the label exactly duplicates the barcode label from the primary tube to facilitate error detection. Read More