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Lab Tests Online has been designed as a resource where people can find up-to-date lab testing information vital to the understanding and management of their health or the health of someone close to them. The focus is very specific to clinical laboratory tests and the topics that relate to them. On this site, you will find the following:

Test descriptions. At the core of the site is a library of tests, also called analytes, that will provide helpful background for understanding why a test might be ordered and what the results might mean. We also explain what kind of sample, or specimen, is required to perform the test, and we provide answers to some commonly asked questions.

Conditions. The site also includes a library of conditions and diseases that are briefly described and linked to the tests that are typically used to screen for, diagnose, and monitor them.

Screening Guide. Preventive screening is an important part of maintaining your health. With our screening guide, organized by age and condition, we provide a survey of screening recommendations from some of the leading authorities. Many organizations have weighed in with recommendations that are not always in agreement with one another but, in the end, screening is a matter for discussion between you and your healthcare provider. This guide should help get you started. You can also read our article Wellness and Prevention in an Era of Patient Responsibility.

News. Advances in technology are having a tremendous impact on clinical lab testing. From refinements in clinical research to development of more home testing devices and kits to the promises of Internet technologies (enabling such things as this web site), there is a lot going on in this field that has a direct effect on you, the healthcare consumer. To help you keep up, we aggregate the news, summarizing from key news sources and supplementing with original work.

In-depth articles. What is a reference range? And how does it affect you? How do you cope with anxiety over providing a bodily sample for testing? How much can you trust the home tests that are available? These and other important questions are examined and answered in a set of feature-length articles developed exclusively for Lab Tests Online. They provide a broader perspective that can help you better understand your tests.

The Lab. This part of the healthcare infrastructure is a mystery to most healthcare consumers. We try to pull back the curtains a bit to show you what real-world wizardry occurs inside the lab because, without it, many diagnoses would be reduced to guesswork and early detection and prevention of numerous conditions could not occur. We hope that these pages help you feel better about being tested and give you an appreciation for the good work of so many people.

Ask Us. In the "Ask Us" section of most test descriptions and via other links throughout the site, you have the opportunity to get questions about lab tests answered by clinical laboratory scientists. This service is provided via one of our partner organizations, ASCLS.

Search and Menus. On every page but the home page, you will find three pull-down menus labeled "Tests," "Conditions," and "Screening" that will take you directly to any article in these three libraries. On our home page, you will find these libraries in the three scrolling windows on the right. If you don't find what you are looking for in the libraries, we recommend that you use the site Search tool, also located at the top of every page, for a quick and thorough search of the site.

External information and services. Throughout the pages of the site, we have tried to include links to other web sites where you can follow up to learn more about specific conditions and their treatments. We also provide links to web services provided by sites other than Lab Tests Online. You will find our links to be specific to the context of a particular page. We have tried to connect to the sites we know best and trust most. With limited resources, we have not been able to be comprehensive and would welcome any suggestions for additional linkages to credible information or useful services.

Send Us Your Comments. Finally, we are very interested in how you are able to make use of Lab Tests Online. Please take a moment to send us your comments. It is our goal to respond in the most timely and effective manner to constructive suggestions for improving the site and its content.