Three important characteristics of specimens and test requests:
- Urgency: May be requested routine or urgent turnaround time.
- Time dependency: Specimens degrade over time and some tests require byzantine specifications including stability, so they must be performed accordingly.
- Irreplaceability: Some specimens are difficult or impossible to replace because they were obtained:by invasive methods as part of a timed procedure through significant inconvenience to the patient
Types of Specimens
Time urinalsis is used to measure the rate at which a substance is excreted, usually over a 12 or 24-hour period. A large container is used for collection and a preservative may be required. A timed urine sample, such as a 24-hour urine collection, can be difficult for the patient to collect accurately and hard to replace.
Cerebospinal Fluid: Fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
Synovial fluid: Fluid that fills the spaces between bones.
Amniotic fluid: Fluid surrounding the fetus.
Pericardial Fluid: Fluid surrounding the heart.
Peritoneal fluid: Fluid lining the abdominal cavity.
Pleural fluid: Fluid that surrounds the lungs.
Most of the laboratory errors that injure patients happen during pre-analytic phase of testing -- specimen collection, transportation and processing. Common errors include:
- Incorrect collection container
- Mislabeling of specimens or requisitions
- Incorrect or incomplete requisitions
- Improper Storage
- Prioritization erros
- Data entry errors
- Misaliquoting of specimens
- Incorrect routing
- Incorrect storage
Protected Health Information
PHI should not be accessed or discussed outside the scope of assigned work. PHI is protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA).