Laboratory Overview

Overview

Laboratory tests are tools helpful in evaluating the health status of an individual. It is important to realize that laboratory results may be outside of the so-called "normal range" for many reasons. These variations may be due to such things as race, dietetic preference, age, sex, menstrual cycle, degree of physical activity, improper collection and/or handling of the specimen, non-prescription drugs (aspirin, cold medications, vitamins, etc.), prescription drugs, alcohol intake and a number of non-illness-related factors. Any unusual or abnormal results will be discussed with you. It is not possible to diagnose or treat any disease or problem with one blood test alone. It can, however, help you to learn more about your body and detect potential problems in early stages when treatment or changes in personal habits can be most effective.

Our lab, like almos all labs, sets the normal result range for a particular test so that 95% of our healthy patients fall within the normal range. That means that 5% of our healthy patients fall outside of the normal range, even when there is nothing wrong with them. Thus an abnormal test does not necessarily mean that there is something wrong with you. Statistically if you have 20 or 30 individual tests run as part of a panel, chances are 1 or 2 will be slightly outside the normal range. Part of what we do for you is to interpret whether or not these changes are significant.

Your Results

You will receive notification of all lab results. We do this via a service called "Lab Calls". The service works as follows: You will be given a card at your appointment that has your identification number and PIN. Within 2 weeks of your visit you will get an automated telephone call to notify you that a message about your lab results is ready to be retrieved. You can then confidentially phone or use the internet to get a report on your results. Occasionally we will call you to explain a result. This DOES NOT necessarily mean the result is worrisome, but rather that it requires a more lengthy explanation! Please be patient awaiting your notification. We use an excellent local laboratory that prides itself on timely, accurate results. Occasionally a test will be repeated for quality control, and this takes more time. If you have not heard from us by 3 weeks after your visit, please contact us.