All specimens are required to be labeled with the following information: 

  • Patient's name and medical identification number 
  • Date and time of specimen collection 
  • Initials of staff collecting the specimen 

Since the use of computerized bar code specimen labels, many phlebotomists have stopped initialing and dating their specimens saying, "It is no longer needed. It is in the computer."

However, it must be remembered that the accuracy of the computer information is only as good as the data input. Ask yourself these questions: 

  • Am I the only one who uses this terminal when I am signed on? 
  • Does everyone change the staff ID code when they log in specimens? 
  • Do I always remember to log off the terminal when I leave it? 
  • Does everyone always change the time of collection to when the specimen was actually collected? 
  • When an inpatient run is logged in, do all the specimens show the same collection time? 

Since ER patients and inpatients are constantly being treated, it is important to know who actually collected the specimen and the actual collection time. Using just an estimation could have life threatening consequences. 

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