Laboratory Frequently Asked Questions
Why Do You Need A Lab Test?
Your test helps your doctor determine your overall health, diagnose disease and decide your treatment. Laboratory tests will provide valuable information to your doctor.
Who Will Perform Your Tests?
The Outpatient Laboratory Services team has over 350 licensed professionals with degrees ranging from MDs, PhDs, masters’, bachelors’ and associates degrees to assist you with your lab tests. Our professionals include:
- Medical technologists
- Medical laboratory technicians
- Laboratory assistants
- Customer service representatives
- Administrative personnel
Laboratory team members provide accurate results and quality patient care. Orlando Health laboratories are accredited by the College of American Pathologists.
What Can Be Tested?
Your body has many types of cells and fluids. Almost all of these cells and fluids can be tested, although the most commonly tested are blood and urine. Specimens such as sweat, spinal fluid, joint fluid, sputum, stool, bone marrow, tissues and body scrapings are also tested.
What You Need To Know Before Your Test.
Depending on the test or tests ordered, you may be told not to eat food for 8–12 hours before coming to the laboratory, or you may be told to only eat certain foods. For other tests, you may be told to drink more or less than what you would normally drink 8–12 hours before the test. You may be asked not to smoke before the tests. If your doctor tells you laboratory tests are ordered, ask for special instructions or talk with a member of the laboratory team.
How Are Specimens Taken?
For blood tests, one of two methods may be used. Your finger may be pricked by a lancet for a small amount of blood to be put in a BD Microtainer® Tube. More commonly, a vein on the inside of your arm may be the source. First, the skin over the vein is cleaned with alcohol or an antiseptic. Next, a tourniquet is wrapped around the upper arm to enlarge the veins in the lower arm by restricting blood flow through them. A small needle is gently inserted into a vein and the tourniquet is removed. Blood flows from the vein through the needle, and is collected in a syringe or blood tube. After the needle is taken out, the puncture site is covered for a short time to stop any bleeding. You will be told how to collect urine samples, stool, sputum, semen or other specimens that can be collected at home.
When Will Your Doctor Have A Copy Of Your Results?
Most laboratory tests are finished in a few hours. If you are an inpatient, your doctor will have many of your test results the same day the test was taken. If you are an outpatient, results will take 1-2 days. Some procedures take several days to complete and your test results will take longer to reach your doctor. Your doctor or one of his/her team members may call the laboratory and ask about your tests. Your doctor will be told the progress of your tests and be given an estimated time for your results.
How Do You Get A Copy Of Your Lab Results?
You may request a copy of your lab results by going to the Orlando Health - Health Information Services/ Management offices and signing a consent form.
What Do Your Test Results Mean?
Laboratory tests can help you evaluate your own health. Sometimes test results can be outside of normal ranges for many reasons. Discuss all lab results with your doctor.