Contributed by- Dr. Pooja Chaudhary
Has your physician advised you for an annual blood test or a regular blood test, but the thought of spending hours at the lab or hospital and during transit, that too as the first thing in the morning; deter you to step out for the test? On the other hand, how convenient it would be to have a phlebotomist come to your home and take your sample, so you do not have to drive or leave the comfort of your home.
Sounds suitable for sure, but is this service as reliable and the results as accurate when compared to going to your trusted lab and giving the required samples? After all, the sample collected from home will be subjected to traffic, pollution, distance and time hazards. Now that these questions have cropped up in your mind, it is important to understand the process of sample collection and the factors that influence the accuracy of their results.
A closer look at sample collection at home
A physician orders lab tests to diagnose, treat, manage, or monitor a patient’s condition and you have decided to get it done at the comfort of your home. For this, you can book a test online or order it on phone. The process begins with the collection of a sample of blood, which is then sent to the laboratory where it is uniquely identified and examined to make certain that it is appropriate for the testing as ordered by the health care provider.
Sample collection procedure and handling is an important part of obtaining accurate and timely laboratory test result. Samples must be collected using a proper technique by the phlebotomist or the technician, use of proper containers, correctly labelled (in the presence of the patient) and promptly transported to the laboratory.
Blood sample collection procedure
Blood sample collection is done by a technician called a phlebotomist. Prior to the collection, the phlebotomist should review the test required, the type of sample to be collected, minimum volume required, the procedure, the collection materials, and the storage and handling instructions. This should also be informed to you. After which the following steps are followed:
- You will be made to sit or lie down during the procedure.
- The phlebotomist will use a fresh needle to draw blood, mostly from the vein in your arm.
- You will be asked to make a fist and the technician will then use a band to constrict your arm.
- Once he or she finds a usable vein, the technician will clean the area with spirit and then insert the needle.
- You might feel a small pricking sensation. Once the technician has drawn enough blood, he or she will take the needle out and put an adhesive bandage on the site.
- You may be asked to press firmly on the site to stop any bleeding.
Process after the blood sample is collected
Once the blood is collected, the sample has to labelled correctly by the technician and then sent to the laboratory. Proper collection, handling of blood samples and its transportation to the laboratory are critical to ensure accurate results.
Healthians.com assure quality collection and testing at its laboratory. We use Cool sure and Black code technology to ensure sample transportation in an environment-proof way; safe from heat, sunlight, pollution, contamination and human error.
Errors that can happen during sample collection
Here are different types of errors that can happen during the sample collection procedure at home that can affect your test results. It is important to keep the following things in mind at the time of your sample collection:
- Inadequate information about the test: You should be well informed about the test prior to the collection. The phlebotomist should inform you about the test and be able to answer basic queries related to the test. For example: for fasting blood samples, knowledge of the same will ensure accuracy.
- Hushed-up experience: The complete procedure of collecting a blood sample and transporting it to the lab is a systematic affair and has few defined steps to follow. Hence, patience and proper use of equipment is essential. For example, improper use of a tourniquet can affect the results or shaking the sample rigorously can affect the quality of the collected sample or during skin sterilisation prior to the prick, not allowing the alcohol to dry completely can alter test results.
- Reuse of equipment: For every blood test use of fresh needles is a must. The phlebotomist should open a sealed needle right in front of your eyes. Always check for the same.
- Mislabelled samples: Blood samples have to be labelled properly for correct identification, investigation and reporting.
- Hygienic factors: Hygiene is the first and foremost consideration while giving your blood sample. Right from the appearance of the phlebotomist to the equipment used like needles, cotton etc, all should score 1 on hygiene. Check for the following while giving your blood sample:
The phlebotomist has worn a fresh pair of gloves.
The work area must be sterile.
A disposable syringe is being used.
The area of the skin is cleaned with an antiseptic wipe
- Insufficient quantity of sample collected: All diagnostic test require a said amount of blood sample, hence adequate quantity is essential for accurate results.
- Temperature control: Samples have to be kept under the required temperatures (less than 3-degree Centigrade) while transporting. After half hour of sample collection, our phlebotomist puts each sample inside the Cool sure box to ensure the same.
- Time limitations: Samples have to be transported to the laboratory within the required time (5 hours). Any delay makes the sample unfit for any medical investigation.
Laboratory tests are essential for your health, as they act as a guide for the physician to determine what’s going on inside your body. The lab results are vital to many medical treatments and disease control, resulting in improved management of your health. The accuracy of lab test determines the accuracy of diagnosing and hence impacts your further course of treatment. Trust Healthians for home sample collection. We guarantee money back on accuracy as our trained army of phlebotomist are best in the industry.