Clinical Lab Manager - News, Editorial and Products for the Clinical Laboratory
Photo of a clinical laboratory professional using a Brother Mobile point-of-care labeler for coronavirus sample

For Mobile COVID-19 Tests, Labeling Boosts Accuracy, Efficiency

Mobile printing and labeling were key to the rapid deployment of the testing process

Greg O'Connell, Vice President of Sales, Brother Mobile Solutions

To help streamline COVID-19 testing over the past year, public health agencies, health care providers, and clinical labs across North America turned to mobile print and labeling technologies. These highly mobile solutions help ensure fast and accurate labeling of COVID-19 test tubes and processing of vaccination receipts. As a result, the accuracy, workflow, and speed at which tests could be completed improved, along with the patient experience. 

The pandemic demanded that states and municipalities establish mass COVID-19 testing sites and define vaccine deployment plans in a near-immediate timeframe. This soaring demand for “mobile” public health solutions required quick decisions involving technology, processes, and workflows to get portable sites up and running. 

While legacy mobile technologies are proven and have been used in clinical settings for years—such as for labeling specimen or blood bags in hospitals or vials in labs—the pandemic’s unique circumstances, which included fragmented decision-making, added to the challenges. In addition, as mobile testing sites were quickly deployed, considerations such as the accuracy of testing, patient information tracking, and integration with core health care or public health systems were front and center. Mobile printing and labeling were key to the rapid deployment of the testing process.

 Mobile testing sites spring to action

Here’s a closer look at a real-world case study where mobile printers and labeling played a key role in the fight against COVID-19:

 To support testing at remote and pop-up testing sites by a leading lab provider, Brother Mobile Solutions’ RuggedJet 2 mobile printers were paired with lab testing software and mobile devices. The ability to print 2-inch test tube labels “car side” allowed the testing sites to increase testing accuracy and boost throughput. In this application, printing and labeling solutions played a key role in helping a larger number of tests completed quickly.

 Key features include:

 Mobility

Since many receipt printers on the market require an outlet to run, they are not effective in mobile situations. To overcome this challenge, the agency chose Brother’s RuggedJet mobile printers, which feature industry-leading battery life, making them excellent for mobile situations. Workers could also wear or carry printers using shoulder straps or belt clips allowing them to easily move between stations.

 Ruggedized for outdoor use

Brother mobile printers are engineered for the rigors of all types of mobile operations, with service and support that means they’re ready at all times. This ensures vial and test tube label printing are quick and accurate. Brother mobile printers are built to withstand the daily rigors of the job and seamlessly operate 12–14 hours a day, so they last longer and require fewer replacements.

 Easy integration & deployment

Easy to connect and simple to use, Brother wireless mobile printers ditch the messy inks and toners—delivering fast, reliable printing through advanced features. The mobile printers also allowed for quick deployment with easy integration into a majority of health care or lab testing hardware and software. Printers are compatible with iOS® and Android™ devices and connect via Bluetooth® and Wi-Fi®.

 Label quality

Brother’s labels, tags, and wristbands come in various materials, widths, and adhesives, can meet any need. The easy-to-use drop-in rolls are convenient and offer customization options with preprinted company logos or other designs. The labels are built with thermal print technology to resist smearing or fading.

 On the horizon

As we move forward, new testing centers or vaccine distribution locations will continue to exist at airports, fairgrounds, sporting venues, and hospitals. The evolving need for printing and labeling solutions that can be quickly set-up and integrated with existing technology will continue. Those solutions that include proven mobile labeling technology will help health care and government agencies improve efficiency and accuracy—supporting an improved public health environment.