Most people go to the doctor to get a lab order. Then they do the tests and then go back to the doctor to get the results. Today, you can skip going to the doctor to get lab tests done. There are many websites where you can create the order, walk into a lab and get the results emailed in 24 hours.
Ordering tests on your own is called Direct Access Testing (DAT). It’s sometimes called patient-authorized testing or direct-to-consumer testing.
Why you should consider doing your own lab tests and skip the doctor
Doctor appointments can be difficult to get
Doctor appointments are difficult to get unless you plan early. It can take weeks to get doctor appointments. Going to the doctor to simply get a lab order can be expensive even if you have insurance because you have to pay the deductible. Some doctors want you to come back so that the doctor can go over the results with you.
Deductibles apply for lab tests
Lab tests done through medical insurance can get very expensive if they are not medically necessary. Deductibles apply if the test is part of your annual physical exams.
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The doctor may not order the tests you need
Because the insurance company may not pay for lab tests if they are not medically necessary, most doctors won’t order tests if they think they are not necessary. But you may need some tests done to monitor your health proactively.
Get a second opinion
If your doctor diagnosed you with an illness, you may want to get a second opinion.
Sometimes, you just want to keep certain tests off your medical record. Let’s say you want to get an STD test done. Ordering the test on your own will help you protect your privacy.
States that allow DAT
AK, AR, DC, DE, IN, IA, KS, LA, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NM, NC, ND, OH, OK, SD, UT, VT, WA, WV, WI, TX, VA
States that don’t allow DAT
AL, CT, GA, HI, ID, IA, KY, MI, NH, PA, RI, SC, TN, WY
How online lab testing works
- Choose a website where you would like to order tests
- Decide which tests you would like to take
- Choose a lab closest to you from the website
- Pay for the test with a credit card
- Get tests done at the lab
- You will get an email in 1-2 days that the results are ready. You may need to login to the portal to see the results
Websites where you can order online tests
You can order the lab tests at the websites below.
Paying for the tests
Understand that if you order the tests, you are responsible for costs. You will need to pay upfront when you order the tests.
What should you do if you get abnormal results?
If your results are abnormal, see a doctor to understand the results. Your doctor should help you come up with a treatment plan.
What tests can you order?
Through these websites, you can get an annual physical, CBC, comprehensive metabolic panel lipid panel, STD, urinalysis, and may more.
How much do the tests cost?
The cost varies by the test you want. But most common tests start at $12.
Taking a proactive approach to your health will pay off in the long run. You don’t have to rely on your doctor to order tests for you. The tests are cheap and can be ordered on many websites. After you order the test, you go to the lab to provide a sample. You will typically get the results in a day or two. If any abnormalities are found, you will need to schedule an appointment with a doctor to address the abnormality.