All specimens, once collected, must be handled with sophistication according to the set procedures and policies. These guidelines are essential medical logistics that ensure samples reach their destination without being damaged. To ensure they arrive safe, the sample collection procedures, as well as the transportation procedures, must be right. In addition, the packaging of samples forms a great means to keep samples safe throughout the entire transportation phase.
Every laboratory has a specimen processing area where samples are received, such as blood and body fluids. Such samples are received by medical laboratory experts who have the fundamental training and expertise to handle them. The first procedure of samples is the packaging.
Packaging of Samples
Different institutions refer to many packaging procedures and policies when carrying out the packaging of samples. These procedures give a clear guideline on how every sample type is packaged, making them fit for transportation. In addition, however, there are many guidelines that cut across the entire medical logistics field.
First, the primary containers used for all specimens must be leak-proof. This means that no container should be able to eject any sample inside once it is sealed. This will ensure the entire specimen remains unchanged and undamaged.
The containers must also contain the full details of the client. This will come in handy when identifying the client who issued the sample. Poorly labeling the sample containers will result in lost records or a possible mix-up of samples.
The container lids must be well secured to prevent any spillage during handling as well as transportation.
Each container containing labeled samples must be placed inside a secondary container for transport. In most cases, the secondary container is a tightly sealed zip-lock plastic bag with a clear label showing the type of hazard carried.
If used, the paper lab requests must be placed in the bag’s external sleeve or any other external surface.
Once packaging is done, the next stage involves the transportation of the specimen.
Set policies and procedures also guide the transportation of lab samples. For instance, the medical logistics dictate that lab samples be transported in any of the following ways below:
They may be transported using the pneumatic tube system. This system requires specially padded carriers only and need not be overloaded. One also needs to ensure that the specimen lids are properly sealed, and the latch on the carrier is properly secured.
They may also be transported using a proper lab vehicle fitted with all the required equipment such as freezers. This kind of transportation is ideal for longer distances, such as from one medical facility to another. Proper care has to be taken to prevent the damaging of the delicate specimen through the bouncing or shaking movement of vehicles.
Therefore, the packaging and transportation procedures are critical in the medical logistics of any laboratory. Consequently, it remains mandatory that all the trained personnel follow all the set guidelines while performing all specimen handling procedures.