How a blood sample is processed

(Inside Aotea, February 2010)

Giving a blood sample is a common event but do you know what happens to your blood once it leaves your arm? Find out here about the path of a blood sample through the Wellington SCL testing system.

Test check required

On arrival at the Wellington SCL collection room our staff check your request form. This form contains your information, your doctor’s name and the tests required.

Sample taken and labeled

A qualified phlebotomist (blood collector) collects your blood sample and labels it with your details. We ensure the sample is labeled accurately and verify all details on the form. Samples from our collection rooms are transported to the laboratory by one of our many Wellington SCL couriers or phlebotomists.

Sample recorded on our computer

When your sample arrives in the laboratory, it is logged into the laboratory’s computer system. Your visit is given a unique seven-digit barcode number that tracks your sample throughout the entire testing and reporting process. To ensure accuracy, we doublecheck every sample entry into the computer system. This electronic audit process checks patient, requestor and test details before the sample is allowed to progress into the laboratory for testing.

Sample prepared for testing

Some tests require preparation of your sample before testing can actually start. Wellington SCL has the latest automated equipment to perform sample preparation.

Tests completed by computer

Automated analysers read the barcode on the sample and identify which tests are to be performed. These tests are often completed within minutes and the results are captured in the laboratory computer system.

Our scientists view the results

The latest digital technology allows laboratory scientists to view cells from blood graphically on computer screens. A report on the types of blood cells present may be sent to your doctor.

We send the results to your doctor

The length of time between testing and when the doctor gets the results can vary but is usually between 1-2 days for a blood sample.