Specimen Collection

New Hanover Regional Medical Center Lab Services accepts complete valid orders from both affiliated and unaffiliated provider locations. We accept specimens from both providers and patients.

Be sure to follow all lab order and specimen collection instructions carefully — as outlined on this page — to avoid delays or a rejected test.

Are you a patient?

Lab order requirements

Submit request written by provider.

Use our standard laboratory requisition form (provider must complete and sign).

Order a Lab (PDF)

Ensure your lab is provider-ordered.

Consistent with federal and state law, tests and services must be based on the order of a physician or allied health practitioner (provider) acting within the scope of any license, certificate, or other legal credential authorizing practice in the state of North Carolina (unless in the case of specific exceptions). 

Include all required information.

  • Test(s) requested
  • Reason for ordering test or service (such as diagnosis, sign, symptom, ICD-10)
  • Patient’s:
    • Full name, including maiden name (if applicable)
    • Date of birth
    • Sex
    • Social security number (if applicable)
    • Demographics
    • Billing information (such as scans/copies of insurance cards)
  • Ordering provider’s:
    • First and last name
    • Complete address
    • Phone number, including area code and any applicable extension
    • Authentication (signature) with date and time

Add optional information.

For specific tests, it is helpful if you also include the following in your order. 

  • Pertinent clinical history (such as date of last menstrual period, previous conditions, medications) 
  • Viral isolation cultures: type of infection and/or virus expected 
  • Therapeutic drug tests: date and time of last dose and mode of delivery 
  • Creatinine clearance: patient’s height and weight 
  • Anatomic pathology testing: source and orientation (if applicable) of all specimens 

Verify patient identity.

Be sure to verify the patient’s identity for every collection with at least two patient identifiers. The identifiers on your lab order form and the specimen(s) collection must match. Acceptable patient identifiers include: 

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Social security number (if applicable)
A nurse is kneeling as she talks with a male patient.
A Novant Health nurse is holding a young woman's hand and finger in preparation for a blood test.

Identify & label specimens correctly.

To reduce the risk of error, properly label and uniquely identify all specimens you submit:  

  • Label all specimens in the patient's presence.
  • Ensure that all patient identifiers are legible.
  • Include collection information on each specimen label:
    • Date and time of collection
    • Collector name or initials
    • Microbiology and pathology specimens: specimen source
  • Adhere the label to the sides of all primary specimen containers. Do not place labels on container lids.

Specimen collection instructions


You must collect venipuncture specimens in the appropriate tubes and in the proper order:

  1. Blood cultures
  2. Red
  3. Light blue
  4. Yellow
  5. Light/dark green
  6. Lavender/pink
  7. Gray
  8. Dark blue

Patient service center locations

Wilmington & surrounding areas

Submit completed samples to the New Hanover Regional Medical Center Lab Services patient service center location nearest you. Our skilled team will take care of the rest.

Reasons a specimen may be rejected

The following are examples of reasons we may have to reject your specimen: 

  • Quality not sufficient (QNS) — inadequate specimen volume
  • Discrepancy in patient identification
  • Specimen is:
    • Contaminated
    • Unlabeled, mislabeled, or incompletely labeled
    • Unacceptable due to the test methodology requirements (hemolysis, lipemia, etc)
    • Damaged (e.g., from light exposure or excessive temperature) due to improper storage, handling, transportation, or being in transit for too long before receipt
    • From an unacceptable source or incorrect tube type

If we must deem a specimen unacceptable for testing, we will notify the patient and/or ordering provider. When possible, we may only process rejected specimens at the specific request of the ordering provider after you have submitted appropriate documentation.

Woman team members in a clinic office reviewing patient information on computer screens

Get in Touch.

Interested in local, quality, cost-effective laboratory testing for your facility? Submit our contact form today. We will respond within five business days to discuss solutions that meet your individual needs.