Syringes are one of the most integral tools of any medical institution. Primarily used for injectable medications, they are critical to proper patient care, as anesthesiologists depend on them to sedate and anesthetize. With that in mind, it’s important to consider that syringes, which may hold any number of different classes of drugs, need to be properly labeled with pertinent information, such as the name of the drug and its concentration, as mislabeled syringes could yield potentially dire consequences for those who are injected with the wrong substance or dose.
Errors occur every day in healthcare institutions and research facilities. Medical lab errors can be very costly, setting hospitals back hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars for every mislabeled sample, causing irreparable harm to the physical and mental health of the patient. Errors in research also have a broad impact, skewing results and wasting precious materials—which are often irreplaceable—and years of effort.
Histology, the study of the anatomy of cells and tissues, is an important field of research used by researchers and physicians. While researchers seek to understand how each individual cell affects the function of tissues and organs, physicians study the histopathology of tissues, to see how they change in those affected by disease. Proper labeling of tissue samples at each step of the tissue preparation process is critical to the interpretation of histopathologic results, which are relied upon to correctly diagnose patients. However, histological techniques present unique obstacles for proper labeling that will often require innovative identification solutions to overcome.
In both clinical and research labs, it is often necessary to label material or equipment with sensitive information. This can include patient information or confidential experimental data. Once the patient is discharged, or the samples are either processed or no longer needed, these labels must be discarded; however, the information on the labels must still remain private. In certain cases, this may prove to be more difficult than anticipated. Here are 3 unique label options to help ensure that discarded material can’t be used to procure sensitive information.
Whether you’re working in a small university research lab or for a large pharmaceutical company, saving money is a key priority. This includes saving on small expenditures, like labels, which can add up over time. Unfortunately, saving money isn’t as easy as pushing a button. Below you’ll find some tips you can follow to reduce costs when choosing your ideal labeling solution.
Healthcare institutions tend to use diverse systems for labeling specimens, each incorporating fail-safes at different levels of collection and processing. Many hospitals practice the Swiss cheese model of error prevention, using multiple layers (or fail-safes) to cover up any possible holes, preventing errors from slipping through.1 When it comes to reducing labeling errors, researchers have identified several types of interventions that act as additional fail-safes, many of them incorporating modern technology, such as barcodes, radio frequency identification (RFID), and automated systems.
For Part 1 of the series, detailing the costs of labeling errors in the clinic, click here.
Studying the real-time effects of labeling errors in the lab is extremely difficult. Billions of patient specimens, including blood and urine samples, as well as biopsies taken from multiple tissues and organs, are continually processed on a daily basis in clinical labs. Fortunately, several large-scale studies throughout the last 20 years have attempted to shed light on the clinical consequences of labeling errors in an effort to improve patient care and reduce healthcare costs worldwide.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is one of the most commonly performed laboratory procedures. This technique, used to amplify DNA or RNA sequences, is integral to a host of industries and environments, including healthcare, research, forensics, and agriculture. This powerful technique can be used to measure levels of gene activation, discover mutations in samples from patients with cancer, and identify sources of bacterial infection. However, despite recent advances in PCR technology, labeling PCR tubes remains problematic.