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Compliance & Safety, Education & Training, General Information

Maintaining Specimen Integrity – Purple Priority Bags

purple priority bagSpectrum Health Regional Laboratory supplies purple priority bags for specimens that must be handled and processed immediately upon receipt in the laboratory. The purple color priority transport bag will be a visual cue to the receiving laboratory that the specimens inside the bag need to be handled or processed immediately at the time of arrival in the laboratory or the integrity of the specimen will be compromised.

Use these bags for transporting specimens to the laboratory when: Continue Reading

Education & Training, Microbiology, Test Utilization

Influenza Diagnosis and Test Utilization

In anticipation of “Flu season”, it is valuable to revisit available testing methods for influenza and discuss when each test should be ordered. Though generally a self-limited infection for otherwise healthy individuals, influenza can be particularly severe for high-risk populations including infants, elderly, pregnant women, and immunocompromised hosts. Influenza incidence is largely seasonal with the majority of cases occurring between December and April of each year. Continue Reading

Education & Training, Microbiology

Fecal Leukocyte Specimen Collection Update

The collection requirement for Fecal Leukocyte has been updated from Empty Vial (Plain Container) to SAF Preservative (usually yellow lid with clear liquid). Empty vial is still acceptable but SAF Preservative container is preferred.

SAF Preservative container is part of the stool specimen collection kit. Specimen should be sent at ambient temperature and is stable for 7 days, however, for quality of results please send to the laboratory as soon as possible.

Collection requirements are found in our laboratory catalog.

Patient instructions are also found in the catalog.

Chemistry, Education & Training, Test Utilization

Cardiac Marker Testing (Troponin)

Cardiac marker (Troponin) testing should only be ordered for Inpatient or Emergency Department patients. This test is not clinically appropriate for outpatient testing due to long outpatient test turnaround time (specimen collection to result). In cases of acute/urgent medical conditions, please have the patients evaluated at an Urgent Care center or the Emergency Department. Continue Reading

Compliance & Safety, Education & Training

Zero Tolerance Specimen Labeling

All specimens submitted to Spectrum Health Laboratory for testing must be appropriately labeled to assure positive identification and optimum integrity of specimens. In accordance with standards issued by The Joint Commission, at least 2 patient identifiers should be used when providing care or treatment of services (National Patient Safety Goal, NSPG.01.01.01). If 2 patient identifiers are not used on the specimen, the specimen will be rejected, the order will be cancelled and a request for recollection will be made. This includes Gyn Cytology (i.e. Pap) specimens.

What are acceptable Patient Identifiers?

  • Patient Full Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Spectrum Health Medical Record Number (MRN)

 

Education & Training, General Information

Summer Lockbox Preparation

Follow these steps for loading your outdoor lockbox during the summer months to prevent overheating of refrigerated and ambient specimens:lockbox summer

1. Place a frozen cool pack in the bottom of the lockbox.

2. Layer 3 – 4 paper towels over the cool pack for insulation.

3. Place refrigerated temperature specimens on top of the paper towels.

4. Layer 3 – 4 paper towels over the refrigerated specimens for insulation.

5. Place ambient temperature specimens on top of the paper towels.

Frozen specimen should not be left in the lockbox for after-hours pickup. These tests may be better preserved in the office freezer until the next day’s courier pickup.

Spectrum Health Laboratory is committed to specimen integrity. The specimen transport integrity guide is available in the online test catalog. If you have further questions please contact Laboratory Services at 616.774.5116.