Getting your lab results on time? And delivered as promised? No?

Dr Gary
By Dr GaryCA Latest Reply 2018-01-11 18:44:59 -0600
Started 2017-12-03 22:55:02 -0600


My clients often complain to me about how frustrating it can be to get their lab results back from their doctor’s office. Here are some examples:

Being promised to hear back on a specific day, and having to call and ask where they are, maybe more than once. Messages may not be returned.

Finding out their specimens were lost, and having to come in and repeat the process.

Assuming they would be given or the phone or by email, and having to make an appointment to receive them.

Receiving a link to a secure website, and not remembering their password.

Here’s a link to an article I wrote recently on this topic:

What’s it like for you? Do you and your doctor have a reliable routine in place for receiving your results? If so, what’s your routine and how did you get this in place?


Is each time a new adventure in patience for the patient? Do you find yourself wrestling with that website every time you need to get your results? Had a specimen get lost lately?

And, what do you wish doctors would do to streamline this process?

Looking forward to hearing about your experiences.

29 replies

Supporter007 2018-01-11 18:44:59 -0600 Report

Yes! I agree that lab results should be sent to patients very fast. How else would they get alert that blood sugar level too high and they need to see doctor! That is not the routine!
Please read, watch this revolutionary breakthrough new info here now on diabetes treatment by clicking, typing next URL link

w8chd 2017-12-09 18:48:13 -0600 Report

I've never had any issues with lab results being received in a timely manner. Don't get them done very often, but when i do I've not had any problems getting the results.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2017-12-14 18:47:31 -0600 Report

HI w8chd! Thanks for checking in. Glad to hear you and your doctor have this under control. That's one area where you don't want problems.

wolf65 2017-12-09 10:53:38 -0600 Report

I go every 3 mos., then I find out what my A1C is. He draws blood and it is the same every time. It is crazy but it works for us.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2017-12-14 18:46:43 -0600 Report

Hey wolf! There is a lot to be said for having a routine in place, as long as it works for you and gets you what you need. You sure don't want anything slipping through the cracks where your health is concerned.

GabbyPA 2017-12-07 18:00:04 -0600 Report

I have never had an issue. I go in the week before, get my blood drawn and then the following week, meet with my doctor. I always get a copy of my lab results on the way out from the front desk. I have been blessed to not have to repeat any or have any lost.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2017-12-14 18:44:49 -0600 Report

Hey Gabby, blessed is right. Sounds like your doctor has a well-organized office. I feel blessed too. When I was taking care of my mom a few years ago, I experienced just the opposite. A nightmare, actually. So I feel that much more fortunate that my providers are on top of this.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2017-12-04 12:17:10 -0600 Report

I have never had a problem getting lab results. I sign into My Portfolio and everything is right there. Depending on the test, my doctor will call me, then follow up with a letter of the results. If I look them up on My Portfolio and see something I don't fully understand, I will call and ask and he will explain. It is good to have communication with your doctor. It makes things easier because he/she knows you are an active participant when it comes to your health.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2017-12-06 22:58:01 -0600 Report

Joyce, that sounds like a great system. I am not sure if I am familiar with that one. Personally, I have found that the doctors I work with use various systems, which means coming up with different IDs and passwords, then making sure I store them so I can log in as needed. I wish they would all settle on with, so that I could do it all at the same time. Good for you for following up when you have a question, instead of waiting until the next appointment and potentially forgetting your question in the meantime. And also a good thing that, it sounds like, your doctor follows up with you. Active participant is a good term. Thanks for checking in .

msann 2017-12-04 10:20:17 -0600 Report

yes we are fortunate i doctor really great and most the time we get them over our my chart from there lab we are good on that no so far know problem there

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2017-12-06 22:55:08 -0600 Report

Msann, that's great news. It's always nice to sit down and have an upbeat conversation about lab results. Your hard work is paying off!

BB42 2017-12-04 08:59:51 -0600 Report

Guess I should consider myself fortunate. I have no problems when it comes to being tested and to receive my results, with explanations promptly.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2017-12-06 22:54:17 -0600 Report

Hey BB42, nice to see you. And yes, I think you are fortunate. I hear all kinds of stories about lab results, some good and some not so good.

Type1Lou 2017-12-04 08:36:04 -0600 Report

I get my lab work done through Quest diagnostics and have an established account with them. I can retrieve my lab results on line and print them without having to go to my doctor's office. I also like being able to make blood draw appointments at Quest on-line for my fasting BG work…sure beats waiting with other walk-ins.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2017-12-06 22:53:35 -0600 Report

Lou, that's a good system to have. Having the results available directly gives you more control. I have also done the Quest online thing. It's really great. Takes a lot of the waiting time away. I have shown up at Quest without an appointment, only one time, and I sure regretted it.

suecsdy 2017-12-05 14:55:10 -0600 Report

As far as I know, only 1 of my Drs uses Quest. I had to have a test done while I was in Maryland so it was very convenient. I registered online, took the labwork in and was able to see the results before I came home (no h. pylori). At my dr's office, I just tell them I'm there for bloodwork and they take me right in. There's usually a phlebotomist on duty.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2017-12-04 12:19:40 -0600 Report

I don't have to have an account with the lab because the results go to My Portfolio and I can view them. The Quest we have here at times can be a royal pain. When I used them, they lost my results twice. I don't have to go to them anymore. Glad they have changed things and that you shared this in case I have to use them again.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2017-12-06 22:51:17 -0600 Report

Hey Joyce, I have been down that lost lab results, too. Very frustrating.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2017-12-09 17:19:10 -0600 Report

Yes it is frustrating. They found my results but it took a week to find them the first time and the second time was two weeks. I was ready to go back and do a search myself.

suecsdy 2017-12-05 14:57:18 -0600 Report

Joyce, can you tell me about this My Portfolio? Is it something that's just local for you? I have about 8 patient portals right now and it would surely be convenient to have everything in one place.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2017-12-09 17:17:14 -0600 Report

Sue, I just checked Mercy Hospital and they have it and at the MedStar Hospitals it is called Mymedstar. If you see a doctor at a Medstar Facility they have it. What I like is that I can schedule appointments, cancel them and email my doctor as well as see my medical history.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2017-12-05 20:38:32 -0600 Report

I went to Johns Hopkins for a second opinion, they have it at Hopkins. I didn't sign up for it because I knew I was not going back. I could not read the results until it was sent to University. My sister's doctor must be linked to different hospitals because when she was at Bons Securs until I could get her out, they could read her information.I have had
University Care for years. What I like about it is that I can email my doctor and he will respond within 24 hrs with the answer to my question. I don't know if it works outside of the state.

suecsdy 2017-12-04 07:52:52 -0600 Report

I usually have my labs done about a week before my regular appt. My Dr won't publish them until after my appt. If a test is ordered during my appt, they will call me with results. If they call and ask me to come in to discuss the results, I know it's bad news. That's how I found out about my kidneys and my back. Though lately they just call and say my Dr is referring me to a specialist. I used to stress about the results, but now I know I'll have them within the week. Cholesterol is usually good, diabetes is controlled, blood pressure concerns me more than them, kidneys are holding steady and so far, no liver issues. So I guess basically, I'm stable. Gives me more time to stress over other stuff. Lol

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2017-12-06 22:50:21 -0600 Report

Hey suecsdy, that's an interesting approach. Sounds like your doctor wants to be the one to present results, rather than having patients see them ahead of time and potentially jump to conclusions or become alarmed. Sounds like your doctor wants to control the message. I can understand that perspective. As long as you do have access to them at some point, for your own record keeping. I know what you mean about your doctor being more likely to call you in to discuss the results if they are not good, I have heard similar from my clients. I think my own doctor would have the same approach. Good idea not to stress, if you can avoid it. It doesn't change the outcome of the test, we know when we know. And then we deal with the results. Glad to hear your labs are looking good!

codered51 2017-12-04 02:55:27 -0600 Report

Finally, about a week before my appointment I just go into the office & tell the receptionist that I need to see my doctor’s nurse for bloodwork. After that’s done I just go to my scheduled appointment and we discuss the results.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2017-12-06 22:45:38 -0600 Report

Hi codered, thanks for checking in. That sounds like a good idea, placing yourself in control of getting the labwork done. That seems preferable to waiting for your doctor to notify you, which may or many not happen depending on what kind of system he/she has in place.

haoleboy 2017-12-04 00:20:04 -0600 Report

I get my lab results directly from the lab prior to my follow up visit with the doctor. that way I am able to ask informed questions about the results.
not sure if it is true in all states, but it is a law in California that labs provide results to the patient if requested.
I have digital copies of every lab result (including MRI's, CT scans, and x-rays) going back at least 5 years.
seldom (if ever) do we get a chance for a "do over"
but every single day we get a chance for a "do better"
☺ Steve

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2017-12-06 22:43:17 -0600 Report

Hi Steve! That's a great system you have in place. What a great thing to be able to review your own labs and be ready to think about any concerns you want to bring up with your doctor. When you know your results until your doctor reveals them to you, the chances are that much greater that you won't think to ask something until after you have left his/her office. Great idea to keep those digital records, that puts you in control if you need to show them to another doctor, this can sure save a lot of time. That's very smart.