Direct Access Lab Testing
Direct access lab testing allows individuals to order their own blood work directly from the lab without the need for a doctor’s recommendation or referral. For most lab companies (e.g. Walk-In Lab) one simply needs to go to the company’s website and select the lab that they would like to order. If individuals are looking for a specific lab test, they can find it by name; but for those who want a blood test but are not sure which specific test is needed, a search may be made by category of blood test. Most independent direct access labs do not bill insurance companies. The individual must pay for the lab up front, usually during the online checkout process. Once the test is ordered, the individual simply needs to go to the closest lab and give a blood sample. Results are typically available within a couple of days. The results are sent directly to the individual, but may also be forwarded to the individual’s physician upon request. There are many benefits direct access lab testing has over the traditional process of going first to a doctor, who would then send the patient to a lab with a blood test referral. Some of these benefits include convenience, affordability, and confidentiality.
Time is valuable, and ordering a blood test without a doctor’s note can save a lot of it. The following scenario is not uncommon when ordering lab tests through a doctor: the patient has a health concern and so calls to make an appointment with a doctor; doctors are quite busy and the appointment may be several weeks away. The patient then arrives for the appointment and waits 40 minutes to see the doctor; the doctor spends less than ten minutes with the patient before saying that he or she will not know much until some blood work is done. The doctor provides a referral and the patient goes to the lab – a week later a nurse calls with the results and, based on their outcome, does or does not schedule another doctor’s appointment. This process is exhausting and can be a waste of time and money. With direct access lab testing, the patient can order a lab and know within a couple of days if the lab test is normal or not. Then the patient can make a decision as to whether or not he or she should schedule a doctor’s appointment.
Ordering a blood test without a doctor’s note, despite not being able to use insurance, is often less expensive than getting a doctor’s note. With many insurance companies moving to high deductibles, patients are paying full price for both the doctor visit and the labs that are ordered. Ordering lab tests online cuts the expense of the doctor visit altogether and the price of the direct-ordered lab tests are usually less expensive than lab tests ordered by the doctor. In many cases they are even lower than the co-pay. At a company like Walk-In Lab, blood tests can be as much as 85% off the suggested retail price. Overall, the direct access lab test experience is more affordable than going through one’s doctor for a lab referral.
The results for the direct access lab tests are completely confidential and are available directly to the consumer through an online medical record. Direct access lab companies are held to all of the same HIPPA standards of confidentiality as doctors. The lab will not release or share your test results to or with anyone unless the individual specifically requests the release of information. A benefit of this type of confidentiality is that sometimes individuals do not want their doctor or insurance company to know what specific tests that are taking. Direct access lab testing allows individuals to share or not share the results are their own discretion.
Take Charge of Your Health with Walk-In Labs
Companies like Walk-In Lab offer individuals the empowerment to take charge of one’s own health. Doctors and other health professionals are an invaluable resource for individuals as they manage their health. Doctors should not, however, be the ultimate decision maker as to what an individual does or does not need. Walk-In Lab respects each individual’s right to easily obtain information about his or her own health. Walk-In Labs makes it easy to order and pay for labs online and has hundreds of lab testing sites across the country – making it easy to find a location close by. The prices for blood tests at Walk-In Labs are greatly reduced from retail value, and no doctor’s note or visit is needed. The results are secure and confidential and may be forwarded to a physician upon request. Individuals can take the initiative in their own health and get the blood work information they want by ordering through Walk-In Labs.