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Online Labs: Ordering Tests with No Doctor Recommendation?

By May 25, 2008 - 7:14am
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What do you think about online laboratories? There are so many out there (similar to a recent post about online pharmacies), and I'm curious if anyone has tried them, and have found them credible?

I am worried about people ordering their own lab tests without a doctor's approval or recommendation, for many reasons:
1. Self-diagnosis is not always the best way to go. I think the ideal is to have a healthy patient-doctor partnership.
2. False-negatives and false-positives. Tests have different rates of "false" results based on a number of factors, that they lay person is unaware of.

3. Actual results. There is a reason for pre- and post- test counseling for many tests, including HIV, and I can not imagine receiving the test results online without a health care provider reviewing the results in context of my health history, as well as treatment options, and how to prevent further disease or infection.

What do you think?

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Haven't tried them myself but I'm with you alison. While I think women are often the best judges of what's going on with their bodies, I really feel they can't be the ONLY judge. Their doctor needs to be involved.

And to prove how complicated lab tests can be, take a look at a Web site that helps explain lab tests and why they're ordered called Lab Tests Online which was recommended by the UCLA Biomed Library and helps patients understand why a certain lab test was ordered by a doctor. The site explains literally hundreds of different types of tests. Can you imagine ordering the wrong one?

The web site is a collaboration of professional societies representing the lab community and provides links to the web pages for these associations:

American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC)
American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA)
American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS)
American Society for Microbiology (ASM)
Clinical Laboratory Management Association (CLMA)

May 25, 2008 - 1:44pm
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