To Print or Not to Print: That is the question.Buy Blank Laboratory Labels
The decision to print your labels in the lab or buy them already printed from a label printing company is going to be based on label content, economics, and label durability.
The unique design of laboratory tubes, vials, plates and slides and the need for accurate label placement typically call for small labels. The scanning devices, microscopes and analyzers they use demand high quality barcodes to get good read rates.
Certain information on laboratory labels should be larger and easy to read in order to quickly locate a specimen. Other information might be quite small if it is referenced infrequently. If you are going to use a barcode, it should be tall enough to be scanned easily. The width of the barcode will be driven by the needs of your scanning equipment as well as the data content, the barcode you use and the white space needed around the code.
Easy-to-use label design and printing software like BarTender® lets you pick any label size and format to meet your lab’s information needs. It also allows you to connect to your HIS or LIS system to input various field data related to a patient or lab specimen. Flexible settings give you the ability to print single labels, multiple copies or special sets like this example so that you can label not only containers but documentation. If your labels need extensive specific data that you cannot specify when you buy the labels, you will need to print them yourself.
Small usage labs processing 10,000 samples or less per year may want to consider buying printed labels. Ordering labels periodically makes them simple and affordable to inventory. Laboratories with higher usage generally have an easier time justifying a printing equipment investment. They tend to save money being able to print labels with more details.
Small facilities processing only a few vials, plates or slides per day may want to buy labels already printed for them. Their label information tends to be more generic with sequential numbering. Ordering labels periodically is simple and quick.
Larger facilities have an easier time justifying an investment in printing equipment. If you process higher volumes of specimens, need to link to a LIS or HIS system or you want to add specific patient or sample information to your labels, it will be better to print on-site and on-demand. You have a good choice of label printers and label media to fit your specimen containers.
Most labs can successfully print their own labels using some of our high-quality, durable Laboratory Label Materials. Electronic Imaging Materials, Inc. thoroughly tests all the materials we sell to assure good print quality and durability. We can help you pick the right product for your application. Our QuickStart Label Printing Systems make it easy for you to set and print labels with user-friendly hardware and software.
Ultimate Label Durability
For the ultimate in label durability, EIM recommends laminating a label with a clear film overlay that can protect your printed information against moisture, chemicals and solvents. The easiest way to get this laminate is to let us print your labels for you. Purchasing printed labels also lets us add color via full label tinting, color bars and graphics. There are ways, including special label engineering, to let you print your own labels with lamination, but they tend to be a bit labor intensive.
Contact Our Label Experts to discuss the best way to print your laboratory labels.