Specimen Labeling

To assure positive specimen identification and optimum specimen integrity from the time of collection through specimen testing and result reporting, all specimens must be properly labeled.


Corresponding orders for laboratory testing must be submitted either by electronic means (Health Link order entry) or by use of a paper request form. The information on the specimen label must be accurate, legible and, whenever possible, printed by machine or device.


The information on the specimen label must match the patient information on the electronic test order or the test request form. Per UW Health Clinical Laboratories Specimen Acceptance Policy 5.06, if patient identification on the specimen and the test order do not match, the ordering provider/location will be notified and the specimen will be rejected for testing. Following is specific information requirements:


  • All specimens and lab request forms must be labeled with a minimum of two patient identifiers that identically match
  • Include patient's full name - no nicknames or shortened version of first name
  • The medical record number is required for all Inpatient specimens
  • The date of birth may be used for Outpatient specimens

Test request submitted on UWH Laboratory Request Form

  • Patient's full name - no nicknames or shortened version of first name
  • Medical record number, in barcode form if possible (required for all Inpatients)
  • Date of birth
  • Ordering source such as nursing unit or clinic name/acronym and location (East, West, etc.)
  • Name of authorized billing provider (Attending MD, NP or PA)
  • Name of ordering provider, if different
  • Specimen collection date and time
  • Collector identification if specimen is submitted with requisition form
  • Specimen source or other pertinent information needed for testing
  • Test(s) to be performed
  • Reason for testing (ICD-9 code(s) or narrative diagnosis) is required

Requests for HIV antibody, HIV antigen and HIV by PCR

  • Health Link order must include confirmation of verbal consent
  • Paper request from UWH location must be accompanied by Diagnostic HIV Test Form, indicating verbal consent was obtained, and signed by ordering provider
  • Clients of UWH Clinical Labs are responsible for maintaining records of consent as required by their organization policy. Proof of consent is not needed by UWH Clinical Labs when processing specimen and request from a client laboratory.

Non-UW Health Clients


In addition to the information listed above, the following is also needed:

  • Address for the result report
  • Address for billing