Bar coding and specimen tracking are intricately linked to pathology workflow and efficiency. In the pathology laboratory, bar coding facilitates many laboratory practices, including specimen tracking, automation, and quality management. Data obtained from bar coding can be used to identify, locate, standardize, and audit specimens to achieve maximal laboratory efficiency and patient safety. Variables that need to be considered when implementing and maintaining a bar coding and tracking system include assets to be labeled, bar code symbologies, hardware, software, workflow, and laboratory and information technology infrastructure as well as interoperability with the laboratory information system. This article addresses these issues, primarily focusing on surgical pathology.
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