How to Optimize the Re-Identification of Histology Slides for Pathology labs


Re-identification of Histology slides

Hospitals collect tissue samples for a variety of purposes, from providing an accurate diagnosis to determining predictive and prognostic factors associated with a multitude of diseases. In doing so, samples may often be processed in one location before being sent to other departments or institutions for further analysis. Though nearly all institutions have highly efficient systems that utilize barcodes and laboratory management software, the type of barcodes used can often differ between departments. As such, the re-identification of histology slides is an issue faced by numerous facilities and labs.

The problem of using multiple barcodes on a slide

Typical microscope slides are processed using labels containing information related to the histology/cytology sample with the originating patient information. However, slides may need to be sent to consulting facilities, which will re-process the data to ensure compatibility with their digital scanners and databases. The originating labs prepare and stain slides containing patient tissue specimens identified with a 2D barcode. Unfortunately, consult facilities that analyze these samples commonly utilize 1D barcodes. Because of the limited space on each slide, this means that any attempt to re-label slides with a new type of barcode must be optimized to account for space, shape, and accessibility to the information underneath the new label.

While no singular solution to the re-identification of histology slides currently exists, various labs have devised a variety of solutions to address the issue. This includes using cover-up inks that can be later removed, removable blackout labels (such as our AZA-class), or clear labels that can be placed over the existing label without concealing the information. All these solutions have their own unique benefits and disadvantages. However, they all offer only a partial solution and impact overall lab productivity.

Histo-PinTAG™ as an all-in-one solution

Our patent-pending Histo-PinTAG labels represent an easy, one-step solution to re-identify microscope slides that precludes the need for hard-to-manipulate dot labels or messy cover-up inks. They are designed to cover existing 2D barcodes while simultaneously adding new information, with space for a 1D barcode that can be placed immediately below the original information but not low enough to interfere with the sample itself.

Once printed using a standard thermal-transfer printer, the circle portion of Histo-PinTAG can be easily removed from the rectangular portion using the provided perforations and affixed over the existing 2D barcode. This will conceal the barcode, ensuring it cannot be scanned using a scanner. The rectangular portion of the label, with a new 1D barcode, can then be placed just below the original label. The resulting re-labeled slide can now be processed, ensuring full compatibility with digital slide scanners.

Moreover, the adhesive used to cover the 2D barcode is formulated so that Histo-PinTAG labels can be easily removed if the information on the original label information needs to be accessed without damaging the original label. Finally, the labels are provided in a vibrant yellow color as a visual indicator that microscope slides have been re-identified.


  • Easy, one-step label application
  • Ideal for re-labeling microscope slides
  • Easily removable, without compromising the information underneath
  • Compatible with manual and automated slide processing systems
  • Printable with most commercially available thermal-transfer printers

LabTAG by GA International is a leading manufacturer of high-performance specialty labels and a supplier of identification solutions used in research and medical labs as well as healthcare institutions.

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