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It is now undeniable that laboratory testing is vital for the diagnosis, prognostication and therapeutic monitoring of human disease. Despite the many advances made for achieving a high degree of quality and safety in the analytical part of diagnostic testing, many hurdles in the total testing process remain, especially in the preanalytical phase ranging from test ordering to obtaining and managing the biological specimens. The Working Group for the Preanalytical Phase (WG-PRE) of the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (EFLM) has planned many activities aimed at mitigating the vulnerability of the preanalytical phase, including the organization of three European meetings in the past 7 years. Hence, this collective article follows the previous three opinion papers that were published by the EFLM WGPRE on the same topic, and brings together the summaries of the presentations that will be given at the 4th EFLM-BD meeting “Improving quality in the preanalytical phase through innovation” in Amsterdam, 24-25 March, 2017.