How To Make The Most Of Clinical Laboratory Services

Posted on: 23 November 2021

Clinical laboratory services are a critical part of many medical diagnostic processes. No matter what sort of operation you run, it's important to get the most possible value when you use laboratory services. Let's explore four ways medical professionals can maximize the benefits of sending samples to labs.

Labeling and Tracking

One of the easiest ways to make a mess of things is to not have a good system in place for labeling and tracking samples. If you haven't adopted a digital records system, do so now. Likewise, adopt a system that allows you to print and apply labels immediately so you can quickly scan codes or read numbers to find out what's what. A bonus is this sort of system should anonymize samples and results so someone can't accidentally notice which patient is tied to a request for testing.


The folks at the laboratory should have a consistent contact for your office. Make sure there is one phone number and email. All communications should go to these channels to ensure consistency. If someone is out of the office, make sure another person is assigned the duty of checking those communications several times a day.

Impeccable Handling

Clean conditions are a must. No one can eat or drink anywhere near the samples, even if they are in properly sealed containers. You will also need to segregate samples from each other to avoid any risk of cross-contamination.

Impeccable cleaning of all spills is essential. Even if you spill water, clean the area with an appropriate disinfectant like bleach.

You must keep all instruments clean to laboratory standards. Similarly, all waste, kits, and gloves go in the trash immediately after you collect the samples. If you even suspect there's anything wrong with a sample, dispose of it. When in doubt, throw it out. Draw a new sample.

Understand Results

Doctors and patients are going to have questions when they learn about the results. Take the time to learn about the tests and their statistical implications. Understand what the likely false positive and negative rates are. Learn how sensitive the test is relative to what you're trying to diagnose or rule out, too.

Ask the laboratory services provider for a concrete example if you're not certain what the implications are. They can explain how accurate the test is likely to be so you can convey the information to the patient. Consider asking for more tests if there are doubts or you need to hone in on a more specific diagnosis.

For more information on clinical laboratory services, contact a professional near you.