Q: What tests will the laboratory perform?

A: Your healthcare provider will order the lab tests necessary for your medical care. Unless you are having tests done under the Laboratory Wellness Testing program, by law, the lab can only do the tests that your provider ordered. They can be used to monitor your wellness, to determine why you are not feeling well, or to monitor a treatment for an illness you know you have. A lab test done on a small sample collected from your body can give your provider information that can help save or improve the quality of your life.

Q: When I am told to “fast” before having a laboratory test what does that mean?

A: Fasting, means no solid food for 12 hours and no alcohol 24 hours prior to specimen collection. Water should be taken in normal amounts and you should continue taking your medications as directed by your provider.

Q: Who will take my blood test and what can I expect from this?

A: The person who collects your blood specimen is called a phlebotomist. The laboratory depends on the phlebotomist to collect quality specimens to produce quality lab results. The phlebotomist is trained to do this in a professional, skillful, safe and reliable manner.

Q: Will it hurt?

A: Nobody particularly enjoys having his/her blood drawn. The phlebotomists have high standards and they will do their best to collect the specimen as painlessly as possible. However, they will have to use a needle to obtain a blood specimen out of your arm or they will poke your finger with a very small object called a lacet. There will be some discomfort, which will be similar to a bee sting.

Q: Where does my specimen go? Who works in the lab?

A: Your specimen goes to a laboratory to be tested. A highly skilled medical team of pathologists, technologists, technicians and specialists work together to determine the presence, extent or absence of disease and provide valuable information needed to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment. Though the laboratory professionals spend less time with patients than doctors and nurses, medical lab professionals are just as dedicated to patients’ health. We know your provider will base your treatment on our results. We are committed to giving your provider accurate and precise results in a timely manner.

Q: What about other specimens that do not involve a blood draw, such as cultures and biopsy specimens? What happens to them?

A: Your specimen still comes to the laboratory to be tested by the same medical lab team.

Q: How will I receive my results?

A: The laboratory will send your test results to the healthcare provider who ordered the test. By law, we can only give your results to your provider. Your provider will give you your results either by phone, at your next office visit or by mail. If you are unsure of how you will get your results, please call the office of the provider who ordered the tests.

Q: How soon will my provider receive my results?

A: It depends on the test that is being performed. The majority of laboratory testing is performed the same day as the specimen is collected and your provider’s office should have these results the following day. Some tests may take longer if we send the specimen to an outside reference laboratory. Culture specimens or biopsy specimens may take as long as three days because of the nature of testing these specimens.

Q: Who will explain my test results to me?

A: The provider who ordered your tests will be the one to explain your results to you. Because your providers know why they ordered the tests, they are the best ones to see how the results fit into your total health care.

Q: Is there any place I can get general information about the tests I had done?

A: The Web site: www.labtestsonline.org is a public resource providing accurate information about laboratory tests.

The Laboratory at St. Anthony Regional Hospital is committed to providing excellent customer service to our patients and to our providers. If your provider does not have your test results in the time they expected, please call the laboratory at 712-794-5236 and we can research when the report will be available.