A: Your health care 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.
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.
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.
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.
A: Your specimen still comes to the laboratory to be tested by the same medical lab team.
A: The laboratory will send your test results to the health care 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 provider's office that ordered the tests.
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.
A: The provider who ordered your tests will be the one to explain your results to you. Because your provider is the one who knows why they ordered the tests, they are the best ones to see how the results fit into your total health care.
A: The website: www.labtestsonline.org is a public resource providing accurate information about laboratory tests.
Mercy-North Iowa's Laboratory 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 641-428-7256 and we can research when the report will be available.