Best Practices for Handling and Storing Medical Samples

Each year, millions of blood, urine, and tissue samples are collected by healthcare experts to examine patient health. Yet, it’s astounding how the way to handle and store medical samples can greatly affect the final results.

In other words, what might seem like a simple task can lead to an incorrect diagnosis or ineffective treatment. It underlines why we must prioritize safety when dealing with medical samples.

That being said, in the following sections, we’ll highlight the top techniques used by health experts to handle and store different samples accurately. So, let’s dive right in!

Collection and Labeling

When healthcare professionals (whether at a private click or a public hospital) collect medical samples, they need to use sterile techniques to avoid contamination.

Nevertheless, once the sample is collected, it must be appropriately labeled. This means putting important information on the sample container, like the patient’s name, a unique identification number, and the date and time of collection.

Clear and readable labels will ensure the samples are easily identified and tracked throughout their journey. It will also prevent mix-ups and make certain accurate test results.

Transportation and Packaging

After labeling the samples, the next step is transporting them to the appropriate laboratory. For this purpose, samples must be carefully packaged to protect them from damage or contamination.

This often involves using special containers that maintain the right temperature, prevent leaks, and preserve the sample’s stability. For example, blood and tissue samples often need to stay cold; thus should be packed with ice or in insulated coolers.

In essence, it is essential to follow specific guidelines for different sample types to prevent degradation or alteration of the sample during transit. This maintains the integrity of the samples during transit, safeguarding their quality and reliability for accurate testing and analysis.

Storage Conditions

After the samples reach the lab, they must be stored properly to maintain stability and quality. After all, temperature, humidity, and light exposure can all impact sample integrity.

One common method for preserving samples is using Ultra-low temperature lab freezers with a temperature control range of -50°C to -86°C. There are also cryogenic freezers that have uniform temperatures of -150°C.

As different samples may require specific storage conditions, it is also important to establish and adhere to temperature ranges recommended for each sample type.

Inventory Management

Efficient inventory management is crucial to prevent sample mix-ups and ensure timely retrieval when needed. It typically involves creating a system to catalog and manage the samples, including their types, quantities, and locations effectively.

Nevertheless, samples should be organized logically and systematically, allowing easy identification and access when required. Regular audits and inventory checks are further essential to identify any discrepancies and address them promptly.

Security and Access Control

Finally, maintaining the security and confidentiality of medical samples must never be overlooked. It is because any unauthorized access to samples can compromise patient privacy and lead to erroneous results.

Implementing access control measures, such as restricted entry to sample storage areas and secure storage containers, can help prevent unauthorized handling. Moreover, healthcare facilities should have policies in place regarding the disposal of samples to ensure proper handling and protect patient privacy.

Final Words 

Patients trust healthcare professionals and labs when they give medical samples. By adhering to the best practices discussed above, healthcare professionals and laboratories can foster trust and confidence, ultimately benefiting both patients and medical professionals alike.

Contributing Author

Contributing Author

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