Pathology requests can be made in one of several ways.
Most requests for pathology investigations are received electronically, using an order communications system (OCS), however this is determined by the Trust and the dept to which investigations are being sent.
Some depts/clinical areas may require a request form, even though the request may have been made using OCS.
When the OCS system is not available, request forms (Downtime forms) must be used. It is advisable for clinical areas to have a stock of these forms already printed, as often in situations when the OCS is not available, the Trust network is also not available either and therefore it will not be possible to print any forms.
Using multi-layered request forms
If multi-layered request forms are received and are to be shared across pathology departments, please ensure all patient details are visible on each layer of the multiform.
If this information is not clear, it may be necessary to photocopy the original form before separating the multi-layered form sections and enclosing the photocopied request rather than the carbon copy with the specimen.
Blood Transfusion requests
The Blood Transfusion department has its own specific procedure for making requests and labelling samples.
Requesting tests and taking samples
In order for a patient’s blood or other bodily fluid to be collected, it is necessary to obtain the patient’s consent. This can be given in writing (where explicit consent is required), orally or they may imply consent by complying with the proposed examination or treatment, for example, by rolling up their sleeve to have their blood sample taken.
It is the responsibility of the clinician to ensure the patient understands the reason for making the request for an examination and the range of tests that may be involved. The reasons for investigation should be explained clearly to the patient.
All requests will be made by either a clinician or suitably trained practitioner and it is their responsibility to ensure all requests:
- Are made on the correct patient and selecting the correct encounter for that patient
- Include whatever information is required by the laboratory to perform the test and interpret the result
- Which analytical tests are required and the clinical need for those tests.
Where an electronic order using an Order Communications System has been used to make the request and print the labels, ensure ALL of the information printed on the label is legible.
It is the responsibility of the clinical area to ensure the label printers are working correctly and producing legible labels.
Phlebotomist/person collecting the specimen
Must ensure the sample(s) are collected from the correct patient, into the appropriate sample collection container, at the correct time and that the samples are labelled fully with the correct patient’s details.