Sample Protocols
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Guidelines for collecting lab samples

The vast majority of errors related to lab samples originate before the sample ever arrives at the lab.  Accuracy must be verified every step of the way.  As partners is ensuring the accuracy of the final test result, you must observe the guidelines for each step in the sample collection process.

Patient identification

The first step toward ensuring result accuracy starts with proper patient identification for every sample collected. Incorrect patient identification has the potential to have serious or fatal consequences to the patient.  It is imperative that these guidelines be followed closely every time a sample is collected.

Blood sample collection

Blood samples should be collected from health care personnel trained in proper blood collection procedures.  Additionally, staff collecting samples for Transfusion Medicine Service (TMS) use must have evidence of competency in patient identification, blood collection, and TMS sample labelling.  Personnel meeting these criteria are authorized to collect samples tested in Interior Health laboratories.  These guidelines will provide valuable assistance to ensure that high quality blood samples are collected.

Tests performed off-site from the local lab may require special processing or collection requirements.  Ensure all collection requirements can be met.

Non-blood sample collection

Review the collection procedures and sample requirements for all non-blood samples.

COVID-19 sample collection

Review  the resource for COVID-19 sample collection.

Sample labelling

Samples must always be labelled in the presence of the patient immediately after collection.  Review the guidelines for proper sample labelling to ensure the right patient receives the right result or diagnosis at the right time.  


Specimens must be handled and transported to the laboratory in a manner that ensures the sample integrity will not be compromised, as well as protecting the public and the environment from exposure to possible hazards from either the sample or the preservative.

Sample acceptability criteria

Every sample will be evaluated to ensure it meets all acceptability criteria including proper collection, labelling, sample quality, handling, and transport.  Samples which fail to meet any one of these criteria risk requiring recollection.  Be aware of all possible sources of error in order to do it right the first time, saving time and preventing incorrect test results.


MoH     PCQO