Specimen Labelling - It’s not WHAT you do….it’s the WAY that you do it

by Joanne Shrimpton, Marketing Executive Jordan Arkell, Clinical Products Sales Executive

Having established an excellent and improved relationship between patient and clinic, thanks in many ways to improved technology, why would you continue to hand write specimen labels and test order forms? Time to draw a line under handwriting and reap the advantages of automatically printed laboratory labels.

Electronic labelling is a powerful and effective tool which increases patient safety; increases clinic efficiency; improves accuracy; reduces errors and can speed up patient diagnosis and consequently the treatment received by the patient. This in sexual health medicine is especially important when you are trying to reduce the spread of onward infection.

Lilie is the market-leading clinical management software used by Sexual Health and Contraceptive & Reproductive Health services.  The software enables sexual health patients to book their own appointments using Lilie Online booking and allows patients to input clinical data using Lilie Touchscreens. So how frustrating (and expensive) would it be to have to recall a patient to repeat a test due to a problem with their sample label?

Hand written labels are not only laborious and time consuming, they are unreliable (the handwriting of the medical professionals is infamous) leading to potential transcription errors. Not only that, ink can bleed and blur and again information could be totally unreliable.

Professor John Kay, a consultant for John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford and a Royal College of Pathologists spokesman said of the high numbers of wrongly labelled pathology samples “Most of those errors actually occurred because we are using hand written request cards, they then come into the laboratory, we have to copy type them and that's where these errors are coming into the system.”

Now is the time to implement a productive labelling solutions that increases productivity and saves the trust vast amounts of money.

Lilie’s Order Communications module can automatically generate barcodes with the patient data from the electronic patient record and prints the labels which can be attached to the patients test specimen.  Electronically printed specimen labels speed up the consultation administration allowing for more quality time with the patient, happier clinic staff and improved technician productivity levels, saving valuable clinic time and reducing mistakes which costs your clinic money.  

It's a two way street!

Not only does this process speed up the time it takes to order a test with the accuracy of labels but patient test results are then sent electronically back into the Lilie system. This saves admin time by automatically updating the patient record and speeds up the results of the test ready to be communicated to the patient.  Bulk communications via SMS text messages speed up this process also.  6PM believes that the faster and more efficient your service is at communicating and ultimately treating patients reduces onward transmission to other potential sexual partners and improves patient safety.

So why would you hand write your laboratory labels and Lab forms when you can quickly print the labels.  It makes no sense! Do it right - labelling your test samples improves accuracy and reduces clinical administration time.  It’s a no brainer!