​A new closed-loop specimen collection system that went live at Mount Saint Joseph and St. Paul’s hospitals last month is expected to lead to a five-fold reduction in unnecessary needle pokes for inpatients each year.

Lab assistants collect approximately 70 percent of all specimens. The new Phlebotomy Collect system is a new feature of CST Cerner that enables lab assistants to see a real-time validated work-list, positively identify a patient, and print specimen labels on demand all with a handheld device.

“Phlebotomy is an unpleasant experience for many of our patients and repeated phlebotomy events can negatively affect the patient experience,” says Dr. Janet Simons, Co-Medical Director of Clinical Informatics and Physician Program Director for Medicine, Older Adult and Palliative Care. “With this tool, our team can help to ensure that patients experience only the number of phlebotomy events which are absolutely necessary for their care.”

Phlebotomy Collect allows for a more efficient organization and dispatch of collectors, which supports Providence’s ongoing efforts to have morning bloodwork done as quickly as possible to allow for accurate and timely clinical decisions and patient flow.

Lab assistants Vicky Kapanadis and Brodie Field with the new handheld Phlebotomy Collect device.

“We are excited to begin using Phlebotomy Collect as it allows us to view orders in real-time with a user friendly interface,” says Brodie Field, lab assistant. “We are now able to combine orders (STAT, URGENT, TIMED, and ROUTINE), preventing us from poking patients multiple times during the day. This allows us to provide much better patient care, and makes our jobs easier at the same time.”

Positive patient identification provides an additional layer of checks to ensure that sample mix ups and mislabelling events are extremely rare. The ability to print labels at the bedside, instead of carrying multiple patients’ labels on the carts, will also prevent mislabelled specimens.

“Our lab staff recognize that, while this is a big change, it will allow them to more actively participate in optimizing patient care and patient experience,” says Dr. Simons.

Additional benefits of the system include supporting compliance with new lab accreditation standards for positive patient identification, and paperless workflow. Providence is pleased to be leading the roll out of Phlebotomy Collect across CST Cerner sites.​