This video provides instructions and tips on how to properly collect and ship a patient’s specimen to ensure that they receive accurate test results as quickly as possible.
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Josh: Hi, I’m Josh, and this is Becca. We are scientists in the laboratory at Moleculera Labs.
Becca: We’re here to give you instructions and tips to help make sure your specimen is collected and shipped correctly, to make sure you get accurate results as quickly as possible, and avoid your having to get blood drawn a second time.
Josh: When you receive your Cunningham Panel™ specimen collection package, either from your doctor’s office or directly from us, it will look like this:
Josh: Be sure to open the box immediately and read all instructions. When you open the box, also place the included ice packs in the freezer. Then be sure to fill out all paperwork, including the insurance and billing information and a test requisition.
Becca: If your doctor has ordered the test online through our website, the included paper test requisition will not be necessary. However, if we don’t have an electronic order, this must be completely filled out and signed by your doctor. If the requisition is not signed, there will be a delay in testing while we get a valid test requisition from your doctor.
Josh: Also included in the paperwork are consent and questionnaire forms that are optional. These will grant permission to Moleculera Labs to use your specimen in the development of new tests that may expand the scope of the Cunningham Panel™, or in developing tools to better understand the nature of neuropsychiatric disorders.
Becca: When it comes to blood collection, some of our patients have experienced difficulty in getting a lab to draw blood for a send-out test like the Cunningham Panel™. The first place to ask is your doctor’s office, as they may have a small lab or blood draw station associated with them. If your doctor’s office does not offer this service, check with local hospitals or clinical labs in your area, as well as local mobile phlebotomy services, as they will often do this as a “courtesy draw.” Always call first, to avoid an unnecessary trip. When you call, say “Will your lab perform a kit draw for a specialty test that will not be performed in your lab?” For more information on locating a site to draw your Cunningham Panel™ specimen, see the Locating a Lab section.
Josh: When your blood sample is collected for the Cunningham Panel™, it is important that the tubes included in your package received from Moleculera Labs are used. These tubes are glass, with no additives. Some labs may prefer to substitute for their own tubes, but it is important that glass tubes with no additives are used for the Cunningham Panel™, to avoid possible interference that may affect test results. If the lab where your blood is drawn is able to centrifuge the tubes after blood clotting, they should. This will separate the blood clot and cellular components of the blood from the serum, which is the liquid component of blood. After centrifugation, the tube will look similar to this (show sample tube), with a yellowish “straw-colored” hue. If after centrifugation, the color is cherry red, this indicates “hemolysis,” where the red blood cells have burst. This can interfere with the Cunningham Panel™, and we will need a new specimen. The separated serum should then be put in the included plastic transport tube for shipping to Moleculera Labs.
Becca: If the lab where your blood is drawn can’t centrifuge it, that’s ok. Simply send the whole, clotted blood in the glass tubes in the box as we’ll show in a second. Make sure the tube containing your specimen is labeled with the patient’s name and date of birth. One last thing to make sure of before you leave the blood draw site, is that you or the collection site have filled out the collection information on this Collection Sheet, with the most important information being the patient’s name and date of birth, phlebotomist name or initials, and the date and time of collection. We won’t be able to report the results until we have the date and time the specimen was collected.
Josh: Once you have your blood drawn, you need to prepare it for shipment. The most important factors in shipping your sample to us are keeping it cold and shipping on the correct day. The paperwork included in your package from us shows days that you should not ship because of holidays for which we’re closed. In addition, you should never ship on a Friday. Your specimen will be shipped FedEx Next Day Air to make sure we receive your specimen the next morning. If you do ship on Friday, we will not receive your package until Monday, at which point the specimen is likely to be warm. When specimens are received warm, we unfortunately have to request a new specimen.
Becca: If you can’t ship the specimen on the day it is drawn, it is important that you keep it cold. If your specimen is serum, meaning the lab centrifuged it for you and put serum in the plastic transport tube, you can store it in the freezer until you’re ready to ship. If your specimen is clotted whole blood in the glass collection tube, you can store it for up to three days in the refrigerator – like over the weekend if you had it drawn on Friday. It is very important that you DO NOT FREEZE WHOLE BLOOD – this will break open the red blood cells, and we’ll have to get a new specimen.
Josh: (With Becca demonstrating) To ship your specimen, place the sample between the two frozen ice packs, and use the included rubber band to hold them together. Place this inside the Styrofoam shipping container. Place your paperwork (including test requisition, collection information, billing/insurance info, and consent/questionnaire forms, in the included plastic bag. Place all of this into the Pre-labeled FedEx Mailing Pack that was included in your package from us, seal it, and deliver it to a FedEx location or have it picked up.
Becca: Once we receive your specimen, you can expect results within 2-3 weeks, since the panel includes several tests, each of which requires multiple days. For more detailed information on the Cunningham Panel™, or resources for parents and physicians, see our website at www.moleculeralabs.com. You can also email any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.