Leaky specimen containers may cause compromised test results and it is also a hazard to lab couriers and registration personnel. Please be sure to inform patients that leaky specimen containers are not acceptable and may be rejected.
Education & Training
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.
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.
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.
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)
Follow these steps for loading your outdoor lockbox during the summer months to prevent overheating of refrigerated and ambient specimens:
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.
Non-fasting results on intended fasting laboratory tests will alter their interpretation and diminish their utility. Please help remind patients to arrive fasting if fasting tests are required. Spectrum Health Regional Laboratory recommends no caloric or caffeine intake for at least 8 hours. The patient is not to drink (other than water), eat, smoke, chew gum, candy, cough drops, etc. for at least 8 hours prior to their blood tests. Please check the Laboratory Catalog prior to sending your patient or patient’s specimens to the laboratory.