Lab Tests Online is designed to help you, the patient or caregiver, understand the what, why, and how of laboratory testing. To access the primary resources on this website, you can go to the full listings below:


Tests Index


Conditions Index


Screenings Index


News Article Index


Glossary Index


In-depth Feature Articles

To learn more about laboratory medicine in general and gain a greater understanding of how laboratory testing can impact your healthcare, read the following in-depth articles. These patient resources are intended to help you navigate the testing process, provide context for the tests that you may have done and give you a better understanding of your test results.

This article provides explanations of three key terms, health outcomes, evidence-based medicine and patient-centered care and their contributions to improving healthcare and, more specifically, healthcare as practiced through laboratory medicine. Understanding these terms may help you to discuss your testing options with your healthcare practitioner and make informed choices to improve your care.
Laboratory testing is performed in many different settings, from the large reference lab to your own home. As we learn to take a more active role in our medical care, a clear understanding of what happens when our blood or urine or other body fluid specimen is sent "off to the lab" will help us to become more knowledgeable participants in our own healthcare.
One of the most important factors in determining the accuracy and reliability of your lab test is you, the patient. It is essential that you follow instructions, if there are any, to prepare for the specific test you are having performed to ensure that the results will be useful and interpreted correctly by your healthcare practitioner.
Learn about the roles and qualifications of the many skilled professionals who work in clinical laboratories, including technologists, pathologists, and other laboratorians.
Sometimes, undergoing an unfamiliar medical procedure can turn out to be a tense, upsetting, or even frightening experience. If undergoing medical tests makes you or someone you care for anxious, embarrassed, or fearful, read this article for some general tips on how to make the sample collection experience less stressful.
In this article, you can learn about laboratory-developed tests, also called "LDTs", that are developed, evaluated, and validated within one particular laboratory. They are not distributed or sold to any other labs or healthcare facilities to perform on their own. Often, a lab will choose to develop and use an LDT because a commercial test is not currently available.
The majority of laboratory tests in use today are commercial lab tests, those that are are manufactured, marketed, and sold in volume as kits to multiple laboratories and other healthcare facilities. In this article, you can learn how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the development and marketing of the commercial tests used in medical care.
Learn how and why different types of laboratory tests are developed, validated, and made available for use by patients and their healthcare practitioners.
As healthcare consumers have taken on more responsibility for their health, increased attention has been given to the value of preventive medicine. This article discusses how you can take an active role in your healthcare, offering general suggestions as well as more detail on the role of screening tests.
Understanding the method used for a test provides a broader context for understanding your test results. Learn about a few common laboratory methods mentioned on this site.