The Central Processing department of the Main Laboratory at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital serves as the hub of the MedStar Georgetown’s laboratory. Almost all specimens come to us from inpatient units as well as from outpatient clinics, and we disseminate those specimens to their respective departments. Some examples of specimens that we handle include: blood samples, urine samples, stool samples, body fluids, biopsies, tissue, swabs, and bone marrow.
In Central Processing, samples get logged into the electronic system so that orders and results can be tracked electronically. Some samples require centrifugation for proper processing and others require no manipulation whatsoever for testing. Since our laboratory does not perform all tests available for request; many specimens must be sent to reference laboratories or other MedStar hospital laboratories for testing. Central processing handles the manipulation of these specimens, the electronic transferring of the orders, and the sending out of the physical samples through partnered courier services.
Since the Central Processing associates encounter so many different types of specimens and orders they must have a certain amount of knowledge of each department within the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. Central Processing handles the majority of the phone calls to the laboratory from inside and outside the hospital. Central Processing techs know information such as: which tests are performed in various departments, where particular orders are sent out to, what tube to draw for various blood tests, or whether or not a test can be added to a previously collected sample. With this knowledge, they help troubleshoot a wide assortment of issues and are instrumental in providing proper communication to our healthcare teams.