Specimen Collection

Download the following documents for more detailed information on Specimen Collection. Note that it may take several minutes to download these forms depending on your connection speed.

Specimen Collection Types (Swabs) Specimen Collection Types (ThinPrep®) Specimen Packaging Instructions (local) Specimen Packaging Instructions (FedEx) Blood Collection Kit Guidelines Anatomic Pathology Specimen Collection Guidelines

Specimen Transport Arrangements

Local Accounts:

Enter your zip code to see if you are a local account.

National Accounts:

MDL will supply all national accounts with necessary mailing supplies for overnight shipment via or FedEx. If specimen is drawn on Friday, be sure to indicate “SATURDAY DELIVERY” on the shipping invoice. Supplies include:

Simply contact our Client Services Department toll free at (877) 269-0090, to arrange for a specimen pick-up from a commercial carrier such as FedEx.

International Accounts:

International accounts are responsible for making all arrangements for the shipment of specimens to MDL. We recommend the use of Federal Express or any other international carrier who will guarantee the delivery of samples within 48 hours. Pre-payment of services must be included in the form of a major credit card or an international money order in US dollars.

*All international specimens must be accompanied by a physician’s written orders for testing and prepayment in full in the form of a major credit card or an international money order in U.S. dollars.

*Please contact your local sales representative with questions regarding special transport arrangements.

Specimen Guidelines

Proper collection, processing, and transport of specimens are vital to ensure specimen integrity for laboratory testing. Specific specimen requirements are listed under each test in the Test Listing sections. To avoid delays in testing/diagnosis and to prevent potential specimen rejection, be sure to follow these requirements when collecting a particular specimen. Upon receipt of a specimen, the condition of each sample will be assessed by laboratory personnel using specific guidelines to identify improper or inadequate specimens that offer the possibility of inaccurate results. Any sample that does not meet the acceptance criteria will be deemed suboptimal. All suboptimal specimens shall be evaluated by the Department of Quality Assurance & Quality Control.

Acceptance Criteria:

Samples that meet the acceptance criteria but are deemed to be suboptimal may continue to be processed. As suboptimal sample conditions may impact test performance, a report will be sent to the referring health care provider detailling the suboptimal specimen condition(s). In the event that corrective action is possible, the referring health care provider may be contacted by our Specimen Resolution Center (SRC) for additional information or instruction.

Sub-Optimal Specimen Conditions:

A repeat sample will only be requested in instances whereby the suboptimal specimen condition will negatively impact testing. Rejected specimens will not be processed further. A report will be generated to notify the referring health care provider of the reasons for the specimen rejection and a new sample may be requested, if appropriate. Please note, in the instance of irretrievable specimens, where recollection is NOT an option, the suboptimal criteria will be brought to the attention of the Director of Quality Control and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Specimen Labeling

The College of American Pathologists (CAP) guidelines state that all primary clinical specimen containers should be labeled with two patient identifiers at the time of specimen collection. These identifiers must correspond to information provided on the test requisition form or accompanying documents. We will note on the result report when a specimen was received without the required two patient identifiers.

Preferred first identifier Patient’s first & last name
Preferred second identifier Patient date of birth
Other acceptable identifiers Social security number
Requisition number
Patient identification number
Medical record number
Accession number
Unique random number
Additional desirable information Date of collection
Time of collection
Specimen type
Specimen source

Specimen Requirements