Did you know that between 70% and 80% of all medical diagnoses are based on some type of lab result? So what exactly is a lab?
There are two main types of laboratories. The first type is the clinical lab. The clinical lab analyzes body fluids – mostly blood and urine – to measure how much of a substance is present. Common tests include cholesterol, prostate-specific antigen or PSA, glucose, complete blood count to check for infection or anemia, urinalysis, thyroid hormones and many more. One special department of the clinical lab is Microbiology. In Micro, body fluids are cultured to check for the growth of bacteria, some of which can cause serious infection and disease.
The second type of laboratory is the pathology lab. The path lab processes and examines body fluids and tissue to look for the presence of cancer cells. Examples include skin lesions and moles, breast biopsies, prostate biopsies, lymph nodes, pap smears and colon polyps.
Via Christi Clinic has laboratory facilities at fourteen of its locations. The main full-service clinical lab is located at the Murdock facility. Thirteen other branches have clinical labs with limited testing capabilities. These branches perform basic testing that a doctor may need on a stat basis such as rapid Strep screens, urinalyses, blood counts, pregnancy testing and quick methods for identifying influenza and infectious mononucleosis. Patients may go to any convenient Via Christi Clinic lab for routine specimen collection. The pathology lab is located at the Founders' Circle branch.
Testing not performed at the branch labs is sent to the Murdock Lab. Ninety-five percent of all lab testing ordered by Via Christi Clinic providers is performed by our laboratories. The remaining tests are sent to certified reference labs that offer highly-specialized testing procedures.
All Via Christi Clinic Laboratories are fully accredited by the State of Kansas under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act overseen by Medicare. Lab testing is performed only by certified personnel as required by law. Lab services are directed by Elliot Magidson, MD, and Kristin Galan, MD, who are board-certified in both clinical and anatomic pathology.
Do I have to schedule my visit to the lab?
The lab does not require scheduled appointment times for most routine testing. Your doctor will inform you if your tests require specific collection times. In those cases, just call the lab to set up a collection time.
How do I prepare for a visit to the lab?
Most testing does not require special preparation. Your doctor will inform you if there are specific requirements necessary for the testing he/she has ordered. Some tests require that you don’t eat or drink anything but water for 12 hours. Other tests may require that you take your medication at a certain time. Just follow the instructions from your physician.
Do I need an order from my physician for lab testing?
Yes, the lab is required to have an order prior to collecting and testing your specimens. If your physician is part of Via Christi Clinic, the office will enter the order into our computer system. If your physician practices outside Via Christi Clinic, he/she must sign a script or other type of order form. The office may fax the orders to us or you can bring it with you when you visit the lab.
What can I expect when I visit the lab?
When you arrive at the lab we will verify that your name, date of birth and insurance information are correct in the computer system. We will activate the order and collect the specimens necessary for the tests your physician requested. Normally, the wait time for specimen collection is ten minutes or less if we have the order from your physician. Certain times of the day are often busier than others and some orders require additional time to collect, so the wait times can sometimes be longer than the average of ten minutes. We do ask that you arrive at the lab 30 minutes prior to any following appointment.
Does it hurt?
Via Christi Clinic has well-trained, experienced phlebotomists and technologists who collect specimens. If your testing requires a blood sample, we will use a small needle to draw the blood from a surface vein. It only takes a moment to draw the blood and the pain is usually minimal.
How long does it take to get the results of my tests?
Most routine tests are completed within 24 to 48 hours of collection. More specialized testing will take longer.
How do I get my test results?
The lab will send the results to your physician when testing is complete. Your physician will notify you with the results. The lab can not give out results to anyone other than the medical provider who ordered the testing.
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