When it comes to labelling and packaging in any industry, it’s vital that the correct information is displayed. Incorrect data leads to time being wasted and money being lost – two valuable commodities. However, in the healthcare industry, incorrect data can lead to something far graver being lost, something which can’t be commodified: human life.
Collecting blood samples is an unavoidable reality of patient care within hospitals and other primary care settings. Blood tests help diagnose serious diseases, they indicate how well organs are working, and they reveal how a patient is responding to certain treatments. Therefore, it’s imperative that all blood sample labels are recorded accurately and identifiable to ensure patient safety.
The knock-on effect of inaccuracy
In short, if a blood sample is labelled incorrectly another blood test will have to be taken. Now, this may not seem like a huge deal, but in such a critical setting as a hospital, wasted seconds and minutes can make all the difference.
In order to protect patient safety, most laboratories will not accept blood samples or transfusion tests that are not correctly labelled or have been altered in any way. That’s why healthcare professionals will confirm your identity (usually your name and date of birth) before collecting a sample, and reaffirm your identity before delivering the sample to a laboratory.
If a specimen cannot be accurately identified, it can lead to delayed or wrong diagnosis, incorrect or missed treatments, blood transfusion errors, and more. Ultimately, it means that additional testing will be required, which results in further delays.
How to reduce labelling errors
The following information should be displayed on all blood samples and cross referenced against an ID band for all inpatients:
- Date of birth
- Unique identity number such as NHS number
For organisations operating within the healthcare sector, three steps should be taken to help reduce specimen labelling errors:
- Use more than one patient identifier: to ensure a patient’s blood sample can be accurately identified and there is no confusion, organisations should use more than one patient identifier (patient’s full name, date of birth, NHS number, etc).
- Carry out regular labelling audits: handwritten labels increase the chances of blood samples being misinterpreted, so you should carry out regular audits to make sure all staff are following collect labelling procedures.
- Implement a barcode ID system: handwritten labels can result in data being recorded incorrectly. A barcode system negates this possibility with an instantly scannable and recognisable barcode that identifies the patient accurately and quickly.
We specialise in labelling reliability
If there was ever an industry where identification, tracking, traceability and process control were vital, the healthcare sector is it. After working in partnership with a diverse range of providers and suppliers across the sector for a number of years, we at Dura-ID recognise the importance of getting things right at the first time of asking.
When it comes to laboratory testing and the storage of blood samples, printed labelling is key; it must be able to withstand the fluctuating temperatures of storage, as well as the rigours of transportation and testing. To help with accurate and speedy identification of patients, we can encrypt a plethora of critical information into a single barcode, which helps to reduce labelling errors and consequences associated with a mix-up or delay in patient results.
Dura-ID Solutions have the expertise to guide you towards the best identification solution for your staff and patients. If you think our high quality blood sample labels could help your organisation and the patients you serve, fill out an enquiry form and one of our team will be in touch shortly.