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Specimen Packaging & Courier Service

Instructions on packaging of specimens for transport to Inova Reference Laboratory (IRL)

Each collection bag should contain only one patient's specimen. Package specimens as follows:

  • Place properly labeled specimen(s) into the inner pocket of the plastic biohazard specimen- collection bag.
  • Place the completed specimen requisition form into the outer pocket of the plastic biohazard specimen-collection bag.
  • Seal the bag securely.
  • Place the bag in an IRL collection box for pickup by IRL Courier Services.

OSHA requires that all clinical specimens be marked with a "Biohazard" label. Plastic, sealable biohazard specimen-collection bags will be provided by IRL; IRL Courier Services will perform final packaging.

Courier services

Courier pickup of specimens will be provided on a routine or on-call basis. Routine pickups are available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. through 8 p.m. On-call pickups will be made on the day the call is received.

Specimen boxes are provided by IRL for placement of specimens in the event that the office will be closed at the time courier service is provided.

Frozen specimens

Send each frozen specimen in a plastic vial (glass vials cannot be accepted), not more than three-quarters full to allow for expansion. Securely attach a pre-numbered peel-off sticker from the IRL requisition form with transparent tape. Keep specimens frozen until the courier pickup.

Refrigerated (on coolant) specimens

Wrap specimen with a paper towel to separate specimen from the coolant pack. Place the specimen and pack into a biohazard bag and seal. Place the IRL requisition in the outer pocket of the bag.

STAT pickups

When a STAT pickup is desired, contact Client Services at 703-645-6175. Provide the Client Services representative with your name, pickup location, patient's name, and IRL accession number. Client Services will provide a tracking number to be recorded on the requisition.