Tube Labeling DiagramTube Labeling Diagram

Basic guidelines for specimen labeling and handling are provided below. Specimen labels must include two patient identifiers and following the collection process must be affixed in the proper orientation to be read and processed by the automated track system (see diagram).  Please refer to the Specimen Labeling Memo for complete instructions and Joint Commission labeling guidelines.

  • All specimen containers must be labeled with both the patient's first and last name and patient date of birth. If both patient unique identifiers are not present, by regulation, the laboratory must reject the specimen.
  • 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.
  • If utilizing a lock box for after-hours pick-ups, place a pink “Lockbox” sticker with today’s date, on the specimen bag.
  • 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.