…the EFLM Working Group aims to encourage and support worldwide harmonisation of patient identification and tube labelling procedures in order to reduce the risk of preanalytical errors and improve patient safety” van Dongen-Lases et al (2016).
Venous blood sampling (phlebotomy) is the most common invasive procedure performed in patient care. Guidelines on the correct practice of phlebotomy are available, including the H3-A6 guideline issued by the Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI).
As the quality of practices and procedures related to venous blood sample collection in European countries was unknown, the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (EFLM) Working Group for the Preanalytical Phase conducted an observational study in 12 European countries. The study demonstrated that the level of compliance of phlebotomy procedures with the CLSI H3-A6 guideline was unacceptably low, and that patient identification and tube labelling are amongst the most critical steps in need of immediate attention and improvement. The process of patient identification and tube labelling is an essential safety barrier to prevent patient identity mix-up. Therefore, the EFLM Working Group aims to encourage and support worldwide harmonisation of patient identification and tube labelling procedures in order to reduce the risk of preanalytical errors and improve patient safety. With this Position paper we wish to raise awareness and provide recommendations for proper patient and sample identification procedures.
van Dongen-Lases, E.C., Cornes, M.P., Grankvist, K., Ibarz, M., Kristensen, G.B., Lippi, G., Nybo, M. and Simundic, A.M. (2016) Patient identification and tube labelling – a call for harmonisation. Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine. January 19th.
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