Healthcare Mobility

Can iPads Improve the Efficiency of Healthcare Specimen Tracking?

The healthcare industry relies on accuracy—without it, patients are left with less than optimal care. But the environment of hospitals and laboratories can make that difficult, especially when dealing with healthcare specimen tracking.

The traditional method for specimen tracking often involves manually entering data. They pick up a specimen and handwrite the tracking information on the form. This tracking information is key-entered into their laptop, which then prints another form to travel with the specimen. These tracking sheets are easily damaged and the handwritten information could be hard to read, making manually entering it even more difficult.

Adding technology to the process of healthcare specimen tracking can reduce the amount of tracking errors and improving efficiency in the process of getting important lab results back to patients. The iPad is an example of newer mobile technology that has become ubiquitous throughout many industries, and that can often include the healthcare industry. If employees within your organization utilize iPads, the only way to completely take full advantage of them is to give them printing capabilities. Combining iPads with mobile printers like the Zebra QL320 creates a robust specimen tracking system that offers a mobile, accurate and efficient solution.


iPads allow physicians, technicians, and nurses to take them right to the patient’s bedside. Rather than hand writing the tracking information on the form, hospital staff can utilize the tablet and mobile printer combination to scan the patient’s information, enter the appropriate additional specimen information into their iPad, and print a barcode label without ever leaving the patient’s room.


Accurate healthcare specimen tracking is a necessity. Some specimens are irreplaceable—the loss of them would result in catastrophe for trying to diagnose the patient, exposing the patient to danger and the hospital to lawsuits. This can be prevented with accurate healthcare specimen tracking using iPads and mobile printers. Attaching a label to a specimen immediately after it has been taken prevents it from being lost or mislabeled.

Barcode printers like the Zebra QL320 can also print custom labels that are color coded based on the hospital or lab’s system. This allows staff to quickly recognize the type of specimen or its priority level.

In a lab or hospital setting, it’s important to have labels that can withstand being exposed to spills. Zebra products are durable, so even if they’re exposed to moisture or the specimen spills, the lab technicians will still be able to scan the specimen and ensure testing is completed accurately and returned to the proper patient.


Efficiency in healthcare specimen tracking can be difficult to achieve, but the ability to track specimens throughout the process will help ensure that the item has reached the lab, been processed, and returned in an appropriate time period. Knowing where a specimen is in the process can help hospital staff spot problems and inefficiencies in the specimen testing process.

Staff won’t waste time trying to read handwritten tracking sheets and they will waste less time retesting or retaking specimens that have been misplaced or mislabeled. This streamlines the entire patient diagnosis process, and leaves patients feeling confident and comfortable with their hospital.

Implementing a mobile solution like iPads and mobile printers like those from Zebra can provide a more streamlined healthcare specimen tracking process. Samples can be easily identified, tracked, and returned to the right patient, quickly and easily. Not only will your hospital be running more smoothly, but your patients will also be guaranteed peace of mind.