Ask the Expert: is DI water the same as distilled water?

Our new analyzer will require DI water. Is this the same as distilled water?

DI water stands for deionized water which is different from distilled water. Distilled water is water that has many of its impurities removed through distillation. Distillation involves boiling the water and then condensing the steam into a clean container.

DI stands for deionized water. Deionization ("DI Water" or "Demineralization") simply means the removal of ions.

Ions are electrically charged atoms or molecules found in water that have either a net negative or positive charge. For many applications that use water as a rinse or ingredient, these ions are considered impurities and must be removed from the water.

If your instrument specifically calls for DI water, you can void your warranty by using anything else. In some cases, distilled is perfectly acceptable, but the manufacturer has to approve it. There are DI systems that can be purchased to produce this specialized water and most instrument sales people will let you know if these systems are required for operation of your analyzer. You can also order DI water and have it shipped to you.


What is the best way to get the medical assistants to consistently label urine cups, tubes, etc. with the patient information? Our lab struggles constantly with receiving cups labeled with just initials or a last name.


Since most offices are using EMR (Electronic Medical Records) systems now, the simple solution is to get a label printer and have it set up to produce ID labels that contain all the relevant patient data. This is not expensive or hard to do. You just have to work with your EMR company to make it happen.


These labels are great for cups, blood tubes, even swabs. They provide positive ID of the specimen with no hand writing required.


These are some of the issues we are dealing with in my lab. The lid is constantly left off the urine dipsticks, Waived tests kits are left out or not put back in their designated area, and urines are not disposed of when testing is completed. I have begged, pleaded, and yelled to no avail. Any ideas?


Yes, kill them all…………..


Since that will work only one time, try this instead. Use the “swear jar” technique. The “swear jar” is simply a glass jar, a bowl, etc. used to hold quarters. Each time someone said a “bad word” they had to put a quarter in the jar. At the end of the month, the one who put the least quarters in the jar, got the whole thing.


Set up your system and the rules very clearly in writing. Outline what actions trigger the need to add a quarter to the jar, and who can make the call, usually a supervisor or just one or two people. (You don’t want everyone ratting on everyone else).

Also, outline what the rewards are. The winner gets the pot at the end of the month or let the pot build for a year and then have a pizza party.

If you let the pot build, the winner each month (fewest quarters in), could get a half day off or get out of the kitchen duty rotation, which nearly all offices have.


By making it a game, the frustrations, yelling, crying, and explosions disappear and the goal of compliance is reached.