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Managing Preanalytical Processes for Patient Safety

selecting a device that will capture the patient's demographic information through the armband's barcode. Some important questions to ask are:
  • Does the employee's ID badge have a barcode system to identify the person collecting the blood?
  • Is the patient's armband on an arm or leg that can be used for ID?
  • Does the handheld system use wired or wireless synchronization to communicate between the bedside unit and the server?
  • Is end-user training included in the cost of the equipment on all three shifts, seven days a week?
  • Does the product reduce collection time, and has this been documented?

Use a Unified Procedure that Includes the Specimen:

Paula Santrach, MD, director of phlebotomy at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, notes, "Simplify procedures. Sometimes, ID procedures get complicated, or differ by location or department. We used to have two different procedures, one for blood bank specimens and one for other specimens. It helped us to simplify it into a single procedure. You can harm a patient with a wrong blood draw for a chemistry specimen just as you can for a blood bank specimen." To prevent these issues, a proper system is needed for the blood tube label. Some questions to ask are:

  • Are the labels printed at the bedside?
  • Do they have the proper bar code on them?
  • Is there a mechanism within the system to prevent one patients labels being accidentally placed on another patients tubes?
  • Is there a label design that allows labels to be placed correctly on the tube (vertically down the side as opposed to spiral around the tube or attached like a flag waving in the breeze)?
  • Does the laboratory staff have to re-label the tube when it arrives at the testing area?
  • How much time and tech cost is involved in the re-labeling of the tube?

Educate Staff for Increased Compliance:

Cecelia Wright, MBA, MT (ASCP), gro
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