Hand labeling creates the potential for errors that can occur at a number of touch points in the pathology lab as a patient's tissue biopsy is processed.
Errors can include:
In some cases, these types of errors are caught and corrected within the pathology lab. In other cases, mislabeling errors can leave the lab unnoticed.
Nakhleh et al.2, quantified:
By reducing the potential for human error, automated labeling protects the integrity of patient samples. Each cassette and slide is given a barcode that, when scanned, tells the histotechnologist which patient the sample belongs to. Ultimately, this means pathologists can be more confident in making the right diagnosis for their patient.
2: Raouf E. Nakhleh, Michael O. Idowu, Rhona J. Souers, Frederick A. Meier, Leonas G. Bekeris, (2011) Mislabeling of Cases, Specimens, Blocks, and Slides: A College of American Pathologists Study of 136 Institutions. Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine: August 2011, Vol. 135, No. 8, pp. 969-974.