Every day, LifeBrite Laboratories receives hundreds of samples and performs thousands of tests that change people’s lives. These tests help diagnose diseases, pinpoint effective medications, and prevent harmful drug interactions.
That’s why stringent lab safety procedures and protocol are vital for Lifebrite Laboratories. They know mislabeled samples or misinterpreted results can be a matter of life and death.
“We have very strict labeling requirements that meet all regulatory requirements,” said LifeBrite Laboratories Director Dr. Steven Lobel. “All of our technicians and laboratory staff are also trained in proper lab processes and regulatory requirements.”
Physicians routinely rely on blood, urine, and DNA testing to help them treat all of their patients. The sheer volume of tests performed by medical laboratories such as LifeBrite increases the chances of errors.
For instance, LifeBrite Laboratories can receive as many as 1,500 samples a day. Up to 100 different tests could be required for each of those samples. However, mix-ups or errors can happen before the lab even receives samples.
A physician’s office or hospital must label every blood or urine sample or DNA specimen with two unique patient identifiers. Those identifiers must match the requisition form that will go to the lab performing the tests. For instance, some hospital label a vial of blood with the patient’s name and birth date. That label should match information on a corresponding requisition.
“Patient identification is one of the biggest issues any laboratory or hospital has,” said Lobel. “That’s why when a nurse, physician, or any medical technician comes into a hospital room, they look at the patient’s wristband and then ask the patient his or her name.”
Bar codes and lab safety
When LifeBrite Labs receives a sample or specimen, a lab technician examines the sample or specimen for any indication that it was improperly managed or compromised. For example, if a doctor’s office submits a cracked vial or uses the wrong preservative, the lab won’t be able to process the sample.
“If we get a good sample, we get a good result. If we get a bad sample we will get a bad result,” Dr. Lobel said.
Once a technician verifies the sample, LifeBrite’s system then assigns the sample a barcode that will track it through the entire testing process. Automating the blood and urine testing reduces the risk of human error. Furthermore, LifeBrite’s laboratory information system processes include barcode readers at each stage.
Added steps for lab safety
Lab technicians then review the results on a computer screen, Lobel said, looking for patterns or anomalies that could indicate a problem with the sample. For instance, test results showing extremely high potassium levels could indicate a problem with the blood collection process.
“Some labs don’t have that step,” he said, underscoring that it is an extra safety measure implemented by LifeBrite. “(Other labs) may have so many specimens. … If their controls work, they release(the results).”
If the results don’t indicate any problems, lab technicians verify and release the results to the ordering physician.
For molecular pathology testing, LifeBrite utilizes state-of-the-art instrumentation and genetic assays. Trained pathologists review and validate results before releasing results.
Lobel estimates that the number of tests offered by LifeBrite Labs has nearly doubled within three years. As test services expanded, the lab’s focus on safety and accuracy intensified.
LifeBrite Laboratories knows laboratory results directly affect patient care. That is why LifeBrite focuses on providing the reliable results within industry-leading turnaround times.
Atlanta-based LifeBrite, led by CEO Christian Fletcher, operates LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early and LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes.To learn more about LifeBrite Laboratories, visit our homepage.