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Laboratory (Lab) Tests

Lab tests help your provider make decisions about your health and your health care. The following sites can help you better understand the many lab tests that are part of routine health care maintenance.

Lab Tests Online

Overview

For an overview of what lab tests are and why your health care team uses them, see:

Medline Plus: Laboratory tests are often part of a routine checkup to look for changes in your health. Start here to learn more.

US Food and Drug Administration: This section provides information about lab tests your doctor may order for you.

Lab - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): This site has questions and answers that help you understand why you need a particular test and how it will help your health care team.

General Information

Hold Periods for VA information

Some information that comes from your VA health record may not be presented right away in My HealtheVet or your VA Blue Button. This is because your information may first need to be reviewed by a member of your VA health care team. Also, if needed, this gives your provider time to discuss your results with you before you view them in My HealtheVet.

  • VA Laboratory Results (Chemistry/Hematology and Microbiology tests results) are available 3 calendar days after they have been verified. Depending on the type of test, some laboratory results may not be available right away.

  • VA Pathology Reports (Surgical Pathology, Cytology and Electron Microscopy) are available 14 calendar days after they have been completed. Some studies done at a non-VA facility may not be available or they may not necessarily include an interpretation.

If you have any questions about your information please visit the Frequently Asked Questions or contact your VA health care team.

For facts about lab test and how to understand the results, see:

Reference Ranges and What They Mean: Test results are based on a reference range. This site can help you understand a reference range. It talks about why test results and references ranges take into account each person's health condition

How Reliable is Laboratory Testing? The health care team uses lab tests to make decisions about your health and health care. This website helps you better understand the importance of reliable lab testing.

Test Preparation: Your Role: You are one of the most important factors in determining the accuracy and reliability of your laboratory test. This site briefly explains your role as the patient and how you can prepare for each lab tests.

Home Testing: People often look for easier ways to get lab tests done. Home testing is popular among the elderly and people with chronic illness. This site describes the pros and cons of home testing.

Tips on Blood Testing: For most people having their blood drawn is not a problem. Others need help to overcome their anxiousness and/or fear. For some people the condition of their veins may make it difficult to draw blood. This could be due to sore veins from IV therapy, scarred from frequent blood tests, or just hard to find. This site offers tips on making your blood tests more comfortable and less stressful.