FAQ About Blood Test Labs

Did your doctor recently order a series of blood lab tests? If you're not sure what to do next, take a look at the top questions patients have answered.

Where Can You Get the Lab Tests Done?

Your doctor can help you to find a nearby lab. Some physician's practices provide blood draw services and will send the samples out to an off-site laboratory for testing. If your doctor's office doesn't provide blood draw/blood work services, you'll need to use an independent blood testing lab. Before you select a lab, make sure the provider can complete the tests your doctor ordered and accepts your insurance.

Do You Need to Make an Appointment?

Some labs require an appointment for services, while others allow walk-ins. Contact the lab as soon as possible to learn more about appointment requirements. If you don't need an appointment, ask the provider's staff when they recommend you come for your test.

What Do You Need to Bring with You?

You've found a lab and scheduled an appointment. It's time for your blood draw — but you're not sure what to bring with you. If your doctor hasn't sent a prescription electronically (or the lab doesn't accept this type of order), you'll need to bring a paper copy. Without a prescription or doctor's order, the lab staff won't know which tests you need.

Along with your prescription, bring your insurance card and an accepted form of identification (such as a driver's license). Ask the lab or your insurance company before your appointment about possible co-pays. If you do have a co-pay due at the time of service, bring a check, cash, or credit card — depending on the lab's preferred or accepted payment methods.

Can You Eat or Drink Before Your Appointment?

The answer to this question depends on the test you need. Some lab tests require the patient to fast (not eat or drink) in the hours or day/night before the blood draw. Common tests that require fasting include blood glucose, liver function, cholesterol, triglyceride level, high-density lipoprotein, low-density lipoprotein, basic metabolic panel, renal function, panel, and lipoprotein panel.

Your doctor and the lab staff can help you to determine whether you need to fast before your test. If you're not sure whether you can eat, drink, or both before your appointment, ask ahead of time. This can save you time and help you to avoid the need for a potential re-test.

For more information, contact a blood test lab in your area.