The laboratory is a vital service and profit center for veterinary practices. The opportunity for additional revenue streams and ever-increasing service expectations among clients have led more practices to add it as a service line. But, like other areas of care, following specific processes ensure that lab tests return accurate results and enable proper treatment. Labeling is one of the essential steps. Use these veterinary lab labels to ensure the smooth processing of specimens in your practice.
The Importance of Labeling In a Veterinary Laboratory
Laboratories play a vital role in veterinary care, providing tests that help confirm diagnoses, build treatment plans, and manage and monitor patient conditions. A laboratory label makes all this possible. It ensures accurate patient identification and contains other important information about the specimen.
Unlabeled specimens compromise patient safety.
Furthermore, in the absence of proper labeling, specimens face the possibility of rejection. This leads to the need for repetition of the process, causing client frustration and contributing to an increased workload for the veterinary practice.
Here’s why adding a veterinary lab label to a specimen is an essential step in the lab testing process:
- Positive patient identification: A laboratory label ensures that the correct patient is tested, which is essential for accurate diagnosis and treatment.
- Complete and accurate information: A laboratory label should include all of the relevant information about the patient, the specimen, and the test, which helps to ensure that the test is performed correctly and that the results are interpreted accurately.
- Improved efficiency: A laboratory label can help to speed up the processing of specimens, which can improve the turnaround time for test results.
- Reduced errors: A laboratory label can help to reduce errors in the identification of specimens, which can help to improve patient safety.
Types of Veterinary Lab Tests
Veterinary practices perform a number of common lab tests on a day-to-day basis including heartworm tests, fecal samples, urinalysis, chemistry panels, and complete blood counts. But it’s rare for all tests to be performed within the practice. But even when specialized equipment or training is required and tests are sent to an outside laboratory, veterinary lab labeling is an essential element.
What Information Should a Veterinary Lab Label Include?
To protect patients from adverse errors made due to improperly labeled specimens, lab labels must be legible and contain the following information:
- Veterinarian or clinic name: This information helps to identify the practice that submitted the specimen.
- Patient and client information: This information includes the patient's name, ID number, and owner's name and contact information.
- Type of sample: This information helps to ensure that the specimen is processed correctly.
- Date and time of collection: This information helps to track the timeline of the patient's care.
- Whether collection was before or after medication: This information is important for some tests, as medications can interfere with the results.
- Whether collection was before or after the patient had eaten: This information is also important for some tests, as food can interfere with the results.
Laboratory Safety Precautions
In addition to the importance of lab labels for specimen collection, transporting, and processing, they also play a vital role in communicating precautions to the laboratory staff.
In 2012, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) introduced the Globally Harmonized System (GHS), an international effort toward standardization which included the identification and labeling of hazardous chemicals. For veterinary practices this means you need to:
- Identify hazardous chemicals within your facility
- Implement a plan to identify and correct potential workplace hazards
- Properly label secondary containers
What Are Secondary Containers?
A secondary container is any chemical taken from its original container and placed in another container, a common practice in veterinary settings. Labeling secondary containers guards against the safety challenges that chemicals can create, such as toxicity, flammability, and reactivity.
How to Label Secondary Containers
Use GHS labels, like these, and include the information required by OSHA.
- Product Identifier - The product name
- Additional info - Expiration dates, instructions on proper use and other warnings
- Signal Word - Danger, Warning, etc.
- Pictograms - Hazards that apply to that chemical
OSHA requires the labeling of chemical containers in veterinary practice labs, as well as containers of chemicals being shipped to other workplaces. This helps to prevent accidents and injuries and protect the health and safety of laboratory staff and patients.
5 Essential Veterinary Laboratory Labels
Veterinary laboratory labels are essential for streamlining laboratory workflows and ensuring the safety of lab staff.
1) Biohazard Labels
Biohazard labels, when used in conjunction with OSHA's exposure control program, help to identify and isolate equipment, containers, rooms, materials, and other items that may contain hazardous bloodborne pathogens. This helps to minimize or eliminate occupational exposure to these pathogens.
2) Specimen Labels
For the most common lab tests performed in a practice, specimen labels including urinalysis labels, fecal labels, heartworm labels and blood labels, allow you to record key data points and track the progress of your patients.
3) Veterinary Practice Management Labels
Veterinary practice management systems with lab integrations use laboratory labels with unique barcodes to simplify the process of differentiating lab samples, reagents, or plates. These labels are the most effective way to track and keep these items separate. They are ideal for identifying vials, tubes, boxes, and other laboratory containers.
4) OSHA and GHS Safety Labels
OSHA AND GHS labels communicate chemical hazards, providing an instant reminder to employees in the lab of the chemical hazards they may face. In addition, they simplify the labeling of secondary containers with the information required by OSHA.
5) Warning Storage Labels
Warning storage labels are essential for communicating essential safety information about the contents of receptacles that contain common reagents and hazardous materials. They help to guard against accidents and illnesses by providing clear and concise information about the hazards associated with these substances.
Quality Control Labels
In addition to testing and specimen analysis, laboratories also manage reagents, instruments and more. Quality control labels help to track and manage those items effectively.
United Ad Label
For over 60 years, United Ad Label has produced stock and custom lab labels that improve specimen workflow and patient and staff safety. Our catalog contains dozens of products used throughout a veterinary practice laboratory workflow that are in stock and available for immediate shipment. Plus, if your needs call for a custom laboratory label, our online custom label designer app allows you to easily design, price, proof and order a product that meets your specific needs. Contact us to learn more.