The pre-analytic testing phase occurs first in the laboratory process. This phase may include specimen handling issues that occur even prior to the time the specimen is received in the laboratory. Important errors can occur during the pre-analytic phase with specimen handling and identification. Therefore, the pre-analytical phase must have rigorous control measures to avoid unwittingly allowing problems or errors to travel further "downstream."
The second phase is the analytic phases. This phase includes what is usually considered the "actual" laboratory testing or the diagnostic procedures, processes, and products that ultimately provide results.
The post-analytic phase is the final phase of the laboratory process. This phase culminates in the production of a final value, result, or in the case of histology, a diagnostic pathology report.