The Functions of the Laboratory Sample Reception Area
• The flow of work in the laboratory starts in the sample reception area
• Various samples of blood to non-blood specimens are received in this area.
• Medical Laboratory Assistant/Laboratory Receptionist
o Assigned in this department to process the receipt and identify and prepare the laboratory request of
samples for testing.
o They ensure that results are forwarded to the patient and physician in an accurate and timely manner.
o They may also undertake clerical and telephone duties.
The Specific Duties of the Laboratory Receptionist
• The laboratory assistant assigned in the sample reception area is usually called the “laboratory
• They perform office tasks related to handling laboratory test results and other reports completed in the
laboratory or those received from the other laboratories.
• Their primary duties include but not limited to the following:
1. Process the receipt, identification, preparation of samples, and requests entering the medical
2. Maintain an accurate log (using a specimen tracker system) after identification, preparation, and
dispatch to the proper laboratory section.
3. Advise and alert the proper laboratory section about the urgent samples, frozen samples, and samples
that require special handling.
4. Be knowledgeable in handling the laboratory computer system and confidently use test libraries,
intranet, and referral data during data entry.
5. Take care of the scanning, filling, and archiving of laboratory request forms and other pertinent
documents and records.
6. Be able to handle incoming calls and use the features of the telephone system in holding and
transferring calls to the different sections and offices of the laboratory.
7. Keep themselves updated on the current trends related to the performance of their duties.
8. Maintain the level of service and professionalism by ensuring the completeness and timeliness of all
procedures through regular documentation.
9. Attend to and handle queries about the samples and requests in a timely and professional manner.
10. Acquire knowledge on how to operate the pieces of equipment that are used in the laboratory
reception area.
Essential Patient/Client Information Reflected in the Laboratory Request Form (LRF)
• The laboratory uses a request form (LRF) as a document that serves as its communication link not only to
the requesting physicians but also to other users of laboratory services.
• It is important to ensure that the clinical information in these request forms are accurate, adequate, and
free from errors because they will have a significant impact on the laboratory results and on the diagnosis
and treatment of patients.
• The World Health Organization (WHO) has provided a template for the laboratory request form in
Laboratory Quality Stepwise Implementation Tool Program. The template includes the following
1. Name of the form includes the name of the laboratory and receiving date of the specimen being
2. Patient details include the patient’s personal information such as their name, address, telephone
number, date of birth, and gender.
3. Requester details contain the information about the personnel or company that made the request.
The name of the personnel, the company they represent, and the contact details such as the address
and phone number should be indicated.
4. Sample details provide information about the specimen being handled. They show the date and time
when the sample was taken, its urgency, if it involved fasting, as well as the specific type of specimen
5. Relevant clinical information shows other relevant details such as drug therapy, the last dose
including date and time, and other pertinent clinical information.
6. Examination requested shows a list of possible tests that could be conducted or provided. Cervical
cytology request should also be ticked if needed, and additional tests should be written in the space
provided in the form.
7. Date and Signature of the Requester.
The Principle and Application of Laboratory Computer Systems in the Sample Reception Area
• The sample reception area plays an important role in the pre-analytical phase of laboratory testing.
Laboratory errors are minimized if not totally eradicated if this section will apply proper organization and
traceability procedure.
• Adopting a laboratory computer system will improve efficiency of the sample reception area because it
will provide easy and fast access to almost error-free information and ensure that reports generated are
accurate and provided in a timely manner. It also provides control and oversight on the procedures
performed in the laboratory.
• Laboratory Quality Stepwise Implementation (LQSI)
o A tool launched by the World Health Organization (WHO).
o It is a tool that serves as a guide to medical laboratories worldwide in implementing a quality
management system which is compliant with the ISO 15189 accreditation requirements.
• “Develop an Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Sample Reception and Processing”
o A LQSI activity, it is recommended that the following procedures be included:
▪ The integrity of the sample must be checked before rejection or acceptance.
▪ Samples introduced in the register should be properly labeled to ensure traceability.
▪ The laboratory request should be reviewed by authorized laboratory personnel.
▪ There should be a procedure in place for handling special cases such as urgent samples or
verbal requests.
▪ Regular review of the required sample volume per test which may have changed over time.
▪ Proper procedure for a sample rejection.
The Laboratory Sample Receipt/Tracking Log Book
• The laboratory logs or records all incoming samples in a register or log book.
• A laboratory identification number is assigned to the sample and the corresponding requisition form
could be written or entered into the computer.
• The register should include the following information:
o collection date and corresponding time
o receipt date and time the specimen was received
o type of sample
o name of the patient and other personal information
o tests requested to be performed