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Ordering Your Own Lab Tests
- Choose reliable testing sites
- Consult with their doctor (especially concerning test results)
- Pursue follow-up treatment if needed
Who Orders Their Own Lab Tests?
What Precautions Should I Take?
- Preparing for your test—It is recommended that labs who do direct access testing provide consumers with pre-test information (such as information for fasting or taking certain medications) as well as clear, easy to understand results. If you have questions about specific test requirements, talk to your doctor or the lab evaluating the test.
- What to do with results—It is important for consumers who order their own lab tests to share results with their doctors.
- Understanding results—When a doctor orders a lab test for you, they are able to go over the results with you and help you understand what they mean for your disease, overall health, or any treatments you may need. When you order your own tests and don't consult with your doctor, you don't have that. Don't fall into the trap of using the Internet to interpret test results. There are reputable websites that have accurate and current information, but there are more that don't. Also, it might be more difficult for consumers to deal with "bad" test results without a doctor present to counsel them. Your doctor knows your family history and current medical state, and can use this information to help interpret test results and order additional tests that might clarify the results.
How Self-testing Works
LabTestsOnline.org - American Association for Clinical Chemistry http://www.labtestsonline.org
US Food and Drug Administration http://www.fda.gov
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Healthy Alberta http://www.healthyalberta.com
Direct access laboratory testing. Report of Board of Trustees. Texas Medical Association website. Available at: http://www.texmed.org/Template.aspx?id=4816. Accessed May 8, 2014.
Home diagnostic tests: The ultimate house call? US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/byaudience/forpatientadvocates/hivandaidsactivities/ucm126526.htm. Updated April 2, 2009. Accessed May 8, 2014.
Patient safety. American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science website. Available at: http://www.ascls.org/patient-safety. Accessed May 8, 2014.
The American Society for Clinical Pathology policy statement: direct access testing. American Society for Clinical Pathology website. Available at: http://www.ascp.org/pdf/DirectAccessTesting.aspx. Accessed May 8, 2014.
With home testing, consumers take charge of their health. American Association for Clinical Chemistry Lab Tests Online website. Available at: http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/features/hometesting. Updated November 17, 2011. Accessed May 8, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 05/2014
- Update Date: 05/08/2014