Safety Issues – Patient “Handoff” (part 2)

In the previous post, we discussed the issue of specimen hand-offs and and the potential for medical labeling errors.

In this post, we continue on with four additional discussion points.

Hand-offs are everywhere

Let’s look at the areas where hand offs occur during the course of a typical specimen, from the time it is obtained to when it is handled in the pathology laboratory, and how the Safety-Spec lab tray can potentially help reduce the incidence of hand off errors.

Continuing on…

3. Specimen transport to lab. (Pass-off) If the specimens are transported to the laboratory in the Safety-Spec tray, in a sealed biohazard bag, they are secured in two manners, the first being the specimen jars being held in place within the tray, keeping them in order, and second, the securing of the specimens within the plastic biohazard bag. 

4. Arrival of the specimens at the lab in an organized manner (Pass-off), By receiving the specimens in the laboratory in a more organized fashion, there is reduction in the potential for specimen mix up and reduction in the amount of time that is necessary for organization of the specimens in the gross room for the examination of the specimen.  

5. Organization in accessioning (Pass-off). Being received in an organized manner can help the individuals who are checking in and accessioning specimens in the laboratory to be able to quickly and accurately ensure receipt of the specimens that have been stated to be transferred to the laboratory.  Moreover, this can be done more efficiently, saving technologist time, and therefore money to the institution.

6. Maintaining organization on the “to be grossed” table (Pass-off). I know that a lot of people won’t understand this section, unless they have worked in an anatomic pathology laboratory.  Regardless, this is an area in most laboratories where considerable confusion can occur.  This is where dozens to hundreds of specimens are lined up on a counter, to be “grossed-in” by the pathologist or assistant.  The potential for mislabeling at this step is enormous in most laboratories, both for inter-patient and intra-patient specimen mis-matching.  This is the area where Safety-Spec trays were originally conceived and designed because of the high potential for error.  By using the Safety-Spec gross room tray, the organization of this step is improved dramatically, resulting in (1) reduction of potential for patient mis-identification (2) improved organization (3) improved efficiency (4) reduction in labor cost (5) improvement of patient safety.