Specimen Collection and Preparation

Patient Preparation


Verify patient identification by having patient, parent or guardian state full name. Photo identification is mandatory for chain of custody drug screening

Specimen Collection


The phlebotomist may collect blood samples by venipuncture or capillary draw. The doctor, a physician office employee, the patient or guardian is responsible for collecting other specimen types.



  Fluids: Mix fluid with equal amount of 50% alcohol fixative. Label container with patient's name.
Smears: Spray fix smears within 3 seconds of preparation. Label slide with patient's name.

Pap Smear

  Conventional: Smear endocervical brushings and scrapings on one glass slide. Spray fix within 3 seconds of preparation. Label the glass slide and the transport pack with patient name and date.
Autocyte: Detach endocervical/cervical sample obtained with cervical brush into Cytorich preservation collection vial. Label vial with patient's name.
Thin Prep: Detach by swirling endocervical/cervical sample obtained with cervical broom into properly labeled collection vial.


  Draw blood in the designated color-coded tube. Immediately mix the blood by inverting gently 10-12 times. Within 30 minutes, separate the plasma by centrifugation for 10 minutes. Transfer to properly labeled, plastic vial. The vial must have sample type written on the container.


  Draw blood in tube containing no additives. To obtain 4 mL serum, draw at least a full 10 mL tube. If serum separator tube is drawn, invert tube 5 times. Allow blood to clot for 30 minutes. Centrifuge for 10 minutes. If the blood was drawn in a plain red tube, transfer serum to plastic vial. The vial must have sample type written on the container.

Tissue Biopsy

  Place tissue sample in vial with 10% formalin. Label the samples collected by the physician with patient's name, source of the specimen, and date of collection.


  If random urine is required, collect a clean-catch urine in a clean container with leak-proof lid.Timed urine collection is required for quantitative tests. Accurate test results depend on proper collection and preservative of timed urine specimens. On the day of collection, discard the first voided urine and begin timing the collection. Refrigerate urine during collection. Collect all urine for the time span designated. Include the sample collected at the end of the time span. Record collection duration.

Whole Blood


Draw blood in the designated anti-coagulant color-coded tube. Immediately mix blood by inverting the tube gently 10 to 12 times. Unless otherwise specified, submit tube unopened.

Specimen Labeling

  Label each specimen with the following:
  • Patient's name or other unique identifier
  • Date and time of collection
  • Tests ordered
  • Sample source if indicated
  • Phlebotomist's initials

Specimen Preservation


Submit sample preserved by method listed in the test directory. Frozen samples must have sample type listed on container.

Test Request Form


Submit a test request form complete with the patient's test and billing information and any other pertinent information. It is very important that each request include the following:

  • Patient's first and last name
  • Date of birth
  • Date and time of collection
  • Physician's name
  • Test(s) requested
  • Pertinent clinical history (Example: for Pap smears, the patient's last menstrual period and last Pap result)
  • Signed Advanced Beneficiary Notice (ABN), if applicable
  • ICD-10 Code if applicable
  • Complete billing information