Tube Labeling Diagram Tube Labeling Diagram

Basic guidelines for specimen labeling and handling are provided below. OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center Laboratory requires that two unique patient-specific identifiers be documented on the specimen container in order to verify patient identity; at a minimum, patient's full legal first and last name and date of birth (DOB) are required.  Please refer to the Specimen Labeling Memo for complete instructions and Joint Commission labeling guidelines.


  • Affix the label directly under the cap of the tube, over the manufacturer’s label, with the name side of the label oriented upwards.  Leave a visible window on the side of the tube so the contents can be seen.
  • For safe handling of specimens, biohazard bags with two pockets are provided. Specimens should be placed in the zip-locked pocket along with any extra labels, and the requisition put in the outside pocket. One bag should be used for each patient.  Place all the small bags in a large specimen bag.  Epic users, include the packing list in the outside pocket of the large bag.
  • For specimen containers with lids, the label must  be placed on the container itself, NOT the lid.  Lids are removed from containers and patient identification is compromised if the lid contains the label.
  • Upon receipt in the laboratory, the patient's full first and last name and DOB are verified by comparing the label on the specimen container to the accompanying order, historical records, and our electronic medical record (patient names must match letter for letter).
  • When a discrepancy is identified, the laboratory will contact the submitting facility to obtain clarifying information to assure that the testing is being resulted for the correct patient.  In some cases, additional information such as a government issued ID, additional documentation, or a patient information sheet may be required to support any amendment to patient demographics. 

The OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center Laboratory will accept alternate unique identifiers in place of a discrepant name or DOB; alternate identifiers must be present on the specimen label at the time receipt.  Unique identifiers may include, but are not limited to, client's medical record number, client's order or accession number, or social security number.

  • Be sure all specimens are segregated, as to frozen, refrigerated or room temperature.

Consult the OSF Directory of Services or the Epic Procedure Catalog for stability and transport questions and for proper tube color requirements.