Best Practices for Specimen Tracking Excellence

Did you know the College of American Pathologists (CAP) is a leading advocate of higher excellence in the practice of pathology and laboratory medicine around the world?  If you’re looking to make improvements in your outreach lab processes and would like to learn more about the CAP guidelines and best practices that are required for accreditation, and could also help you grow and increase the number of satisfied customers, then you may want to explore CAP’s General Lab Checklist.

For outreach labs, CAP provides detailed and helpful chain-of-custody procedures.  Chain of custody for labs refers to the process of documenting the handling of specimens, including collection, pick-up, transport, receipt and any information related to that specimen, including results and disposal. 

For labs, the handling and tracking of specimens is crucially important.  Lost specimens can mean life or death for some patients, so the ability to track and record the movement of each specimen is a requirement.  Also important are instructions surrounding handling of the specimen itself (does it need to be refrigerated, is it packaged correctly, what happens if the sample is dropped or breaks, etc.) as well as any other important notes for the courier or the lab.  In order to be in compliance, certain procedures must be followed.  Here are a few examples:

  • Having a written policy which defines criteria for storing of specimens
  • Having a written policy regarding access to collected specimens based on chain-of-custody procedures
  • Documentation of the direct chain-of-custody of the specimen from start to finish
  • Records indicating special storage conditions during transport
  • Confirmation of specimen receipt
  • Evidence of proper labeling of the specimen packaging
  • Documentation of improper specimen submissions

MCE is designed to support many of these procedures as it relates to the record-keeping and tracking of specimens being transported from the medical office to the lab. By simply scanning the barcode label on the specimen each time it moves from one location to another, a record is created; making it easy to track and provide historical evidence of compliance to CAP regulations. Furthermore, MCE is cloud-based, so you will know in real-time when couriers arrive to pick up specimens, as well as when specimens are delivered to the lab.

Labs that follow industry-accepted practices build credibility with their customers and affiliates, provide employees with the education they need to perform their jobs successfully, and will develop a more efficient operation with controlled costs and low instances of error.

Improving Processes with Barcode Data Collection

Mobile computers are quickly becoming a necessary part of operational efficiency for specimen couriers.  Used by major package delivery companies like FedEx and UPS for years, mobile computers allow drivers to easily access route information, confirm package delivery, capture delivery confirmation signatures and images of damaged packages, all in one device.

For specimen couriers, the ability to access route and map information, record notes about a customer pick-up or even access rules and instructions for a particular facility on one device means couriers are spending less time juggling devices and more time serving customers.  Mobile computers like the Honeywell Dolphin CT40 offer reliability and durability a field-focused job requires.  

[image of the CT40] Advantages of the Dolphin CT40

  • Lightweight, ergonomic design
  • Upgradeable across 5 generations of Android™
  • Corning® Gorilla® Glass 5 protects the screen from drops
  • Two scan engines enhance data capture speed and read range

For more information about the Honeywell CT40 Mobile Computer, or to talk with us about optimization of your lab’s operations, please contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation.


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