Large Healthcare Provider in Minnesota Uses Barcode Comparator to Reduce Specimen Labeling Errors During Aliquoting

Case Study: Barcode Comparator Solution

The Problem

A large healthcare provider in Minnesota noticed an unprecedented number of incidents in which their lab had provided incorrect results to their patients. They documented 12 incidents over a 30 day period, which were only discovered because a doctor requested verification of the test results. They wondered how many lab errors were missed by doctors and resulted in misdiagnosis. Upon further review, they determined that vials were being mislabeled by technicians during the aliquoting process. They needed a solution that would ensure specimen labels were accurate prior to aliquoting, so they contacted Dasco.

The Solution

Dasco worked with the lab to develop a barcode comparator solution that would meet their requirements.

  • Comparator program is intuitive and easy to use
  • Provides immediately identifiable verification for matching barcodes
  • Requires manual confirmation when barcodes do not match

After several rounds of testing to develop an accurate and effective barcode comparator, the system was validated and implemented.


The comparator that was developed was implemented across the healthcare provider’s facilities to meet specific needs. In some cases, the comparator system was adjusted to fit the application. Some of these adjustments included:

  • Scan options for aliquoting to more than 1 vial
  • Comparators that tracked and stored transaction data including timestamp and technician ID
  • Silent verification for use in post-natal wards
  • Scan options that compare matching data embedded in a 2D barcode


The comparator that was developed was implemented in the healthcare provider’s laboratory. The comparator greatly reduced errors during the aliquoting process and integrated seamlessly with the lab’s workflow. Since the comparator was developed, it has been adapted to various healthcare applications, both in and out of the lab.

  • A system for verifying that barcodes on “child” and “parent” specimen labels matched was created.
  • Incorrect test results from the lab dropped significantly
  • The risk of misdiagnosis decreased, thus improving patient safety

Discuss your next barcode solution with the experts at Dasco.