Policy: ISBT Specimen Labelling Audit


ISBT specimen labels have a check-digit to reduce the risk of misreading the label.  They are generated by the blood bank computer system Medinfo.  Normally one group of labels is printed for all needs (donor unit, marker testing, donor immunohematology, and donor processing.  Reprinting the same number is restricted to minimize the risk of using the wrong label on a specimen or unit.  These labels are NOT used for patient testing.

ISBT specimen labels are only printed at the time of donor registration.  We must securitize them so that they are not used for other, potentially malicious purposes.  Remember:  a labelling mistake may cause fatality in a patient receiving the wrong blood component.


  1. ISBT specimen labels are only for blood donor specimens, initially labelling of donor collections, and intermediate processing of components.
  2. They must be applied to the primary specimens directly at the donor’s bedside.
  3. They must be applied to aliquots from the original ISBT-labelled tubes.
  4. They may NOT be applied to any other specimen (e.g. for routine laboratory testing outside Transfusion Medicine)
    1. If an ISBT label not corresponding to the correct donor is discovered, an OVA or event report must be generated and investigated immediately.
  5. If additional ISBT labels are needed, this must be documented on a specific audit sheet with signature of the person taking the extra labels and a second person to witness their removal.  It will also be noted in the Medinfo system for auditing purposes.
  6. The audit sheet must be kept in a secure place for future reference in Blood Donor Center.