Biological specimen tube selection and labelling is a critical part of maintaining the validity and reliability of test results.
Healthcare professionals who are responsible for obtaining specimens and moving them to the laboratory have a critical role in maintaining the reliability and validity of laboratory test results. This article will outline some of the ways in which biological specimens can be selected and labelled.
Labelling biological specimen tubes by hand
Hand labelling of biological specimen tubes can be accomplished using pre-printed label stock or blank label stock and a printer. A manual labelling strategy involves technicians preparing their own biological specimen tubes and this is generally used when there is a low volume or inconsistent amount of biological specimen tubes in operations that don’t require total accuracy of placement and have time to spare on preparation.
Remembering to label the biological specimen tube is of critical importance and the label should be properly attached, directly rather than placed inside a bag containing the specimen.
Pens should not be used to label the biological specimen tube as if there are any spills or leaks this can cause the ink to run and be indistinguishable. This is also why biological specimen tube selection is so important as it is critical to ensure that the cap and tube are compatible with each other.
Each label should have a single corresponding tube rather than using one label to group multiple biological specimen tubes.
Automatic labelling of biological specimen tubes
Automation equipment is becoming more and more widespread as it enhances accuracy and efficiency in all areas, particularly in labware labelling of biological specimen tubes. There is a range of ways in which the automation of labelling can be achieved which can range from labelling units one at a time to larger, customized machinery which can integrate a larger automated workflow.
Labelling biological specimen tubes automatically ensure that accurate labels are placed precisely on labware to make the process more consistent and efficient. This also makes the labelling process substantially faster. With automatic labelling, accuracy is critical. In healthcare, specimens are held in tubes and vials, and conserving the integrity of the sample is the main priority.
Stop using paper labels for biological specimen tubes
In freezing conditions, ice can form on the tube which can create issues with the adhesion of the label to the tube. During thawing, condensation can affect adhesion and label legibility. Paper labels are not suitable for this purpose and plastic labels are more robust and can be comfortably stored in cryogenic conditions. They are harder to tear and are waterproof and as such are not impacted by condensation during thawing. Additionally, using 2D barcoded tubes in which the barcode has been added to the tube using laser etching, ultrasonic welding or integrated into the tube during the moulding process, can help to eliminate issues with attaching labels to tubes.
At Ziath, we are a leading provider of 2D barcode scanners, software, tubes, and tube devices for competent sample management. Our robust and innovative solutions can help stop sample management problems from occurring which offers confidence that your important sample information is accurately recorded and securely stored. If you would like to learn more, contact our team today, or download our useful E-book “Tips, tricks and solutions for effective sample management” here