American Society for Veterinary Clinical Pathology
2424 American Lane
Madison, WI 53704

Telephone: +1-608-443-2479
Fax: +1-608-443-2474


3. Post-analytical Factors Important in Veterinary Clinical Pathology

3.1. Review of Data.  The laboratory should establish a procedure for appropriate 2-tech review, supervisor review and/or pathologist's review of specimens and/or results.  Review may be specific for problematic tests, specimen parameters, and/or clinical significance of test results.

3.2. Data Entry and Reporting.  Reports should be accurate whether created manually or electronically in a database.  Data should be presented in a standard format as established by the laboratory. If clinically significant inaccuracy is known, results should clearly define error or results should not be reported.

3.3. Report Generation.  Reports should be in a format that is readable and easily understood with appropriate references or explanations as needed.  They should be generated in a timely manner relative to pre-analytical and analytical components.  The laboratory should keep a copy of all reports as well as any accompanying worksheets. Reports should be initialed and dated by the technician or pathologist involved in performing or interpreting any stage of the procedure.

3.1.1. Identification of out-sourced tests ("send-outs"):   Clients should be informed of those tests that are referred to other laboratories. 

3.1.2. Any possibly inaccurate results should have clear and easily seen comments on the report to the clinician that clearly state those values may be inaccurate and misleading as well as detailing why.

3.4. Report Delivery.  Report delivery should be timely, to the correct client, and in a manner agreed upon by the client and the laboratory.

3.5. Specimen Storage.  Specimens should be stored under appropriate conditions for a pre-established time period, as determined by specimen stability, laboratory policy and/or certification/accreditation requirements.  Stained microscopic slides may be held indefinitely, whereas samples such as urine, whole blood, or cavity fluid have limited storage life.  In general, avian hematology samples should not be stored (including transport) for longer than twelve hours while reptilian sample can be stored for 24 hours.  Whole blood samples may be frozen to -20ºF for DNA analysis and -70ºF for RNA analysis.  Samples in frost-free-freezers may be degraded by repeated freeze-thaw cycles.

3.6. Specimen Disposal.  Laboratories should dispose of biohazardous and non-biohazardous materials and specimens appropriately and safely.  This should include timely emptying of all containers and trash bins.

3.7. Personnel Safety – see Preanalytical recommendations

3.8. Laboratory Environment.   Upon completion of a procedure, the laboratory space should be cleaned and organized in preparation for subsequent procedures.  Equipment should be well-maintained so that it will be ready at all times.  See the Preanalytical section for additional recommendations.

3.9. Personnel Requirements – see Preanalytical section

3.10 Miscellaneous.  Once analyses in the laboratory are complete, reagent and supply inventory should be evaluated, and depleted items should be re-ordered.  A well maintained inventory system and list of approved suppliers ensures that quality materials are available at all times.