Having a Laboratory Test
Why is it important to have your Alberta personal health care card?
In the laboratory, your personal health care card is used for:
- Patient Identification
- Confirmation of the correct spelling of your legal name
- Verification of your Personal Health Number (PHN) on the health care card with the number on the laboratory requisition.
- Confirmation of 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.
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 many 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 Preparing for a Fasting Test.
- 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.
- Your height and weight are needed for electrocardiogram (ECG) tracings for the cardiologist interpretations.
- 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 provide 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 given ONLY to your doctor 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?
- You should discuss this with the doctor who ordered the laboratory tests.
- Laboratory staff are not authorized to give out laboratory results.
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.