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Having a Laboratory Test

Why is it important to bring identification with you every time you visit the laboratory?

In the laboratory, your personal health care card is used to:

  • Support positive patient identification before the delivery of health care services
  • Confirm the correct spelling of your legal name
  • Verifiy your Personal Health Number (PHN) on the health care card with the number on the laboratory requisition
  • Confirm your date of birth and gender. Laboratory results can mean different things depending on a person's age and gender. Several laboratory results that are normal for a 70-year-old male are not within normal limits for an infant, teenage boy, or a pregnant woman.
  • Ensure the integrity of your laboratory records


What types of identification will be accepted?

Patients will be asked for two (2) pieces of identification.
The preferred, acceptable list of original documents includes

  • Valid Provincial or Territorial Health Care Card

PLUS one of the following original government issued photo identification:

  • Valid driver's license
  • Valid passport (including out of country issued passports)
  • Canadian Citizenship card
  • Canadian Permanent Resident card
  • Certificate of Indian Status card
  • Valid Alberta or other government issued student identification card
  • Federal, provincial, and/or territorial government issued identification with a photograph

Other acceptable original documents include:

  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Legal change of name certificate
  • Final divorce certificate
  • Citizenship/immigration status document (Student Permit, Temporary Resident, Interim Federal Health Certificate of Eligibility)
  • Certified copy of the court order for name change
  • Court of Queen's Bench Adoption Order

NOTE: Paper or electronic copies will not be accepted.


What will the laboratory staff ask me to do?

  • You will be required to state and then spell your name and give your date of birth in the collection room to:

> confirm accuracy of the information entered into the system
> confirm your identification

  • Fasting is required for some laboratory tests. This means you should not eat or drink anything (except water) for several hours (usually 10-14 hours) before the collection. For more information see the instructions on the back of the CLS requisition..
  • We may need to know the exact time you last ate, drank, or took medication. Food or drugs in your system can affect laboratory results.  
  • You may be asked to collect a midstream urine at the laboratory, bring in a first morning specimen, or a 24-hour timed collection.
  • If you are required to collect a sample outside the laboratory, please print the following legible information on the sample:

> full legal name
> your Personal Health Number (PHN) or other personal identification number (e.g. Military, RCMP, Refugee, Immigration etc.)
> date of collection
> time of collection

  • Samples and requisitions that have incomplete information, discrepant information or samples that are not received with a requisition will not be tested.
  • Laboratory staff will explain all procedures to you. Please ask your physician if you have any questions regarding the laboratory tests.


Who gets my laboratory results?

  • All your laboratory results are confidential.
  • Results are sent to your ordering physician and at his/her request we will give the report to another doctor or specialist physician.


How will I learn the results of my test?

  • CLS encourages patients to obtain their test results through consultation with the ordering physician,
  • CLS recognizes the right of the individual under the Alberta Health Information Act to access their own information and has an Access Request procedure in place for patients who wish to obtain copies of laboratory records. Click here for more information on making an Access Request.


When will my doctor get my test results?

  • Most results are reported within 24-hours of your initial laboratory visit.
  • Some laboratory tests are more complex testing and can take longer. For example, a throat culture will take 48 hours.


How does the laboratory ensure my specimens and results aren't confused with other patients?

  • The information from you and your doctor is entered into the laboratory computer.
  • Your specimens are labeled with your full legal name and a unique computer number.


What if I can't get to a laboratory?

  • We provide mobile collection service to private homes of disabled, immobile, and housebound patients.
  • CLS has specific guidelines to determine patient eligibility for mobile collection service. If you are housebound and meet the guidelines, your physician can arrange for this service.


Where can I get laboratory tests?

At any of our Patient Service Centres.