Depending on the site of testing (hospital, independent lab, POL) and how the specimens are transported to the laboratory (in-house courier or driver), microbiology samples may arrive in the laboratory in large numbers or as single tests. Although batch processing may be possible in large independent laboratories, most often hospital testing is performed as specimens arrive. When multiple specimens arrive at the same time, priority should be given to those that are most critical, such as cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), tissue, blood, and sterile fluids. Urine, throat, sputa, stool, or wound drainage specimens can be saved for later. Acid-fast, viral, and fungal specimens are usually batched for processing at one time. When a specimen is received with multiple requests but the amount of specimen is insufficient to do all of them, the microbiologist should call the clinician to prioritize the testing. On arrival in the laboratory, the time and date received should be recorded.
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