Targeting Rejection: Analysis of Specimen Acceptability and Rejection, and Framework for Identifying Interventions in a Single Tertiary Healthcare Facility

Lisa Rooper, Jamal Carter, John Hargrove, Sheri Hoffmann, Stefan Riedel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives: Assessment of specimen rejection rates is an important laboratory quality measure for laboratories because of a potential negative impact on patient care. Here, we examined reasons for specimen rejection at a single, tertiary care healthcare institution and propose a framework for designing an efficient intervention. Methods: During a 1-year period, we identified all specimens rejected at our hospital and performed an analysis of a wide range of associated variables: reason for rejection, patient location, type of phlebotomist, tests ordered, priority status, collection container used, transport time. Results: Clotted and hemolyzed specimens accounted for the majority of rejected specimens, but significant differences in reasons for specimen rejection existed between patient care areas. Eighty-five percent of rejected specimens came from the Emergency Department and eight other inpatient care areas. Registered nurses drew approximately 85% of rejected specimens, while laboratory phlebotomy staff drew only 4%. Conclusions: While hemolysis and clotting are primary causes for specimen rejection, collection of all available data regarding specimen rejection data is essential for laboratories determining which factors are most significant causes of specimen rejection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere22060
JournalJournal of Clinical Laboratory Analysis
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2017



  • laboratory management
  • laboratory quality assurance
  • specimen rejection rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Hematology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Medical Laboratory Technology
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Microbiology (medical)

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