Laboratory tests contribute vital information about a patient’s health. Correct diagnostic and therapeutic decisions rely, in part, on the accuracy of test results. Adequate patient preparation, specimen collection, and specimen handling are essential prerequisites for accurate test results. The accuracy of test results is dependent on the integrity of specimens.
In all settings in which specimens are collected and prepared for testing, laboratory and health care personnel should follow current recommended sterile techniques, including precautions regarding the use of needles and other sterile equipment as well as guidelines for the responsible disposal of all biological material and contaminated specimen collection supplies. For all those who are involved in specimen collection and preparation, the responsibility to adhere to current recommendations designed to maintain the safety of both patients and health care workers does not end when the patient is dismissed.