In our laboratory, donors help provide the safest and highest quality care

The Hospital’s Laboratory receives 50 new patient specimen cases each and every day.

Many are from patients who are having colonoscopies. Others come from patients who undergo a biopsy to rule-in or out disease, perhaps breast or prostate cancer. Still other samples come from patients in our ORs.

Each sample goes through a series of steps in order to produce glass slides. 50 samples could result in as many as 850 of these glass slides. A pathologist then analyzes the slides to come up with a diagnosis that is reported back to the patient’s physician. Many people are involved – many hands touch a pathology sample.

Every single time a specimen sample is handled in this process, laboratory technologists need to confirm that they are handling the correct sample and labelling samples, cassettes and slides correctly.

It’s a process that is inherent of upwards of 850 opportunities for human error per day.

Thankfully, a new donor-funded Anatomical Pathology Tracking System is now live as of February 28, 2017. With this system, a 2D barcode replaces the tiny numbers that technologist used to have to strain to read.

The Tracking System is a computerized system that generates the 2D barcodes on cassettes, glass slides and specimen labels. At each point of handling, new computer hardware is used by technologists to scan the 2D barcode on the sample, ensuring proper patient identification.

Karen Scales, the Hospital’s Charge Technologist in the Anatomical Pathology Department said “this tracking system helps protect patients and staff from the serious risk associated with sample misidentification.”

In this video, Karen explains the importance of this system and thanks the generous donors who funded it.

Demonstration of the donor funded laboratory tracking system.


The Tracking System was funded by Circle of Life members who voted on this priority project in 2015. It was a long and careful process identifying potential suppliers, awarding the project and then implementing the software and hardware systems.

Community support has been instrumental in aiding better patient care at Guelph General Hospital.

We are so grateful for our Circle of Life members who helped fund this important technological solution. It helps our Hospital meet its strategic priority of providing the safest and highest quality care through eliminating preventable harm.